A prominent member of the National Conference, Sen. Femi Okurounmu, yesterday caused a stir when he claimed former President Olusegun Obasanjo was rigged into office in 1999 by those he called “powers that be”.He alleged Obasanjo did not win the poll.
Okurounmu, who is one of the delegates representing South-West at the ongoing conference, released the bombshell during a debate on the modalities for rotating electoral positions by the “Committee on Political Restructuring and Forms of Government.
Contributing to the debate, Okurounmu left many delegates who are members of the committee dumbfounded when he claimed that Obasanjo was anointed by powers that be to pacify the Yoruba over the injustice done to the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, Chief Moshood Abiola which was annulled by the Babangida military regime.
He said: “Obasanjo did not win the election. He was anointed by the powers that be to pacify the South-West over the annulment of June 12 election. What I said, I have said it to his hearing,” he claimed.
Okurounmu said that he is totally in support of the rotational principle as it would give everybody the opportunity no matter how small or how big the person may be.
He suggested that rotational principle should be included in the Electoral Act and the constitutions of the political parties to protect the interests of Nigerians.
Also speaking on the zoning, a delegate representing the Federal Government, Senator Nimi Bariagha Amange, warned that Nigeria should not be compared with the United States, arguing that America has practised democracy for over 200 years.
“Our greatest problem is fear and suspicion, that is why we want everything to be in the constitution. Then, if we want zoning, we should zone the Presidency to all ethnic nationalities in Nigeria. So, that all of them will enjoy the Presidency,” Amange said.
He suggested that the National Assembly should be allowed to do its work.
“Obasanjo was not the best candidate in 1999 contest, but Nigerians decided to give it to South-West because of what happened to Chief Abiola. Nigeria has never had the best as its president,” he said.
The Bayelsa State-born delegate noted that every zone or local government has somebody that can rule the nation perfectly.
From IHEANACHO NWOSU and FRED ITUA, Abuja