Mixed reactions are still trailing the suggestion made by the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, for a single term tenure for the president and governors.
In a recent interview with journalists in Lagos, Ekweremadu, who doubles as the Chairman, National Assembly Committee on Constitution Review, expressed his belief that single term tenure was the viable option for the country, saying it would help in dousing the tension that always associated with succession process.
He suggested that President Goodluck Jonathan and current governors be given two more years in office, for a single term to take off from 2017, insisting that this would guarantee peace in the country.
Ekweremadu also expressed sadness that the nation did not take the opportunity at the time the issue came up, noting that other countries had used the same method to stabilise their democracies.
Commenting on this, constitutional lawyer, Chief Fred Agbaje, described the idea as “clear political fraud on the citizenry,” saying: “The non-performing politicians want to get from the back door, what they cannot get from the front door.”
According to him, the matter was beyond the political and electoral mandate given to the present office holders reminding them that their tenure must terminate in 2015. He stated that the sovereignty Ekweremadu was accruing to himself belonged to the Nigerian people.
“Any attempt by anybody to elongate the tenure of the present political office holders will be resisted by the electorate,” Agbaje vowed, saying: “Every electorate, including my humble self, is eagerly and assiduously waiting for 2015 to vote out the non-performing government that cannot point at anything done to benefit the people.”
Also commenting, National Coordinator of Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Otunba Gani Adams, said: “Additional two years for the incumbent will amount to changing the provision of the constitution illegally,” adding: “What the constitution allows for is two terms of four years each.”
Adams expressed preference for commencement of the single term of six years after the 2015 election, “to cut down corruption,” saying, “single term tenure is preferable because second term is always second term of looting.”
Chief Greg Mbadiwe, on his part, supported Ekweremadu, stating: “That was my suggestion during the period of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo that was thrown away.”
According to him, Nigerians owed him an apology for rejecting his suggestion and describing it as too patronising in favour of Obasanjo, saying: “Now that Ekweremadu is toeing the same line, I support the idea and I deserve an apology from Nigerians.”
A lawyer, an activist and convener of the Coalition of Democrat for Electoral Reforms (CODER), Mr. Ayo Opadokun, viewed Ekweremadu’s suggestion as expression of personal opinion that was allowed by the constitution.
Opadokun was, however, of the conviction that the most important thing to do was for Nigerians to sit down and decide on how they wanted to relate with one another.”
According to him, a constituent assembly, where all the ethnic nationalities that form the country’s component should be arranged, warning: “The matter is too delicate and more serious a public concern to be left on the street, but for all Nigerians to partake in.”
President of Campaign for Democracy (CD), Dr. Joe Odumakin, viewed the issue as “two sides of a coin,” saying the only solution to the country’s woes is Sovereign National Conference.”
The woman activist said: “Change of mindset, commitment to the survival of the country, allowing our votes to count and voting the right people that will do the right things will do the magic.”
While saying, “I am not throwing my weight behind any of the proposals,” Odumakin however, said second term in office was a waste of time.
Source: Sun News