By Olusegun Emmanuel, Abuja.
A member of the National Conference Committee on Political Restructuring and Form of Government, Senator Femi Okurounmu on Tuesday declared before members of the Committee that former President Olusegun Obasanjo did not win the 1999 presidential election.
He alleged that Mr. Obasanjo was merely “anointed” to become president by some power brokers in the country.
Mr. Okurounmu stated this when the Committee was debating modalities for rotating electoral positions.
It could be recalled that the former president who ran on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, defeated Olu Falae, who was the joint candidate of the defunct All Peoples Party, APP, and the Alliance for Democracy, AD.
Mr. Okurounmu, a former senator and member of the AD, said the former president was made president by some non-Yoruba people to pacify the race over the annulment of the June 12, 1993 which Moshood Abiola presumably won, by the military administration of former President Ibrahim Babangida.
Mr. Okuroumu is of the Ijebu ethnic stock from Ogun State where Obasanjo and Abiola hailed from.
“Obasanjo did not win election; he was anointed by the powers that be to pacify the South West over the annulment of June 12, 1993 election. We did not vote for him. What I said, I have said it to his hearing,” he said.
The delegate who headed the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue, which packaged the ongoing National Conference, canvassed for the rotation of power, but that it should not be reflected in the constitution.
Mr. Okurounmu also said that political parties should not include the zoning system in their constitutions, but instead should be incorporated into the Electoral Act. This, according to him would guarantee its compliance.
Another member of the Committee on zoning policy, Nimi Barigha-Amange called for the presidential power to be rotated among all the ethnic groups in the country.
According to him, every zone or could produce the president of the country. “Our greatest problem is fear and suspicion and 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.
“Obasanjo was not the best candidate in 1999 contest, but Nigerians decided to give it to south west for what happened to Chief Moshood Abiola. Nigeria has never had the best as it president” he said.