On Tuesday, Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo made several statements concerning the country’s presidential elections next year. He said he would not install an interim government to handle the transition from his administration to the incoming government. President Obasanjo also frowned on ethnicity and regionalism in the presidential campaign. Ita Enang is a member of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and represents Akwa Ibom State in the Nigerian House of Representatives. He told VOA English to Africa reporter James Butty about the significance of President Obasanjo’s announcement.
“The significance of this is that the political space has now been made cleaner and clearer. In Nigeria…there cannot be interim national government because the Constitution provides that no body should take control of the government of Nigeria except in a manner set out in the Constitution. And the Constitution only provides for an elected president, elected governors, elected national assembly, and elected state assemblies,” he said.
Representative Enang reacted to the comment by President Obasanjo that he will resist having anyone with a record of corruption succeed him.
“…Mr. President is the leader of our party, the PDP, and he would have influence in perhaps who becomes the candidate of the party through the electoral process of the primary during the convention. But in Nigeria, it says any person who has been convicted of an offense involving dishonesty or indicted, these are the kinds of things I think the president may be alluding to because if you seek to lead the country, it must be shown that your record of past public service and your private life is such that it can be seen to have moral and political restitute and without any possible criminal tendency or record,” he noted.
Representative Enang says President Obasanjo is right to warn Nigerians against ethnicity and regionalism during the political campaign.
“What the president is saying is that any person who is canvassing to contest and win to become the president of Nigeria will not become the president of the south or president of the north…. Do not bring ethnic coloration to your campaign; campaign on the basis that you want to be president of Nigeria,” he said.
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