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How Well Did Obasanjo Weather Third Term Controversy?

President Olusegun Obasanjo bore the brunt of much of the criticism during the debate over the third term proposal. For an analysis of how he weathered the political storm, English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua spoke to Chuks Osuji, executive director of Opinion Research & Communications Consultants in Oweri in Imo State.

He says President Obasanjo presented a good image to the public. “Nigerians welcomed his humility and demeanor. Yesterday, there was (an) element of humility in his speech, candor in his speech, and Nigerians are very, very happy. But if he had said something differently, probably the country would have been on a catastrophic mood.”

During his speech, President Obasanjo is quoted as saying, “Many derogatory statements and unfounded allegations [that] have been made about me and my position concerning the so-called third term in the National Assembly and in the media were false, incorrect, and uncalled for. Of course, that is part of the burden of leadership in our own type of society.”

Osuji responds, “My reaction is that allegations, several accusations, name calling, abuses and all that rained on him. That’s unjustifiable.” Asked whether his comments Thursday indicated he was opposed to having a third term, the analyst replies, “No, no, no, no, no. Nobody can believe that. He was very much involved. He spearheaded it. What he did was he demonstrated a political dexterity by not being drawn into the debate. What he did was good.”

Osuji rejects the idea that another attempt will be made to revive the third term issue and that Nigerians are now very confident in their democracy now that the idea has been defeated in the National Assembly.