Mixed Reactions Trail Proposed Tenure Elongation


The six-year tenure for the president and governors being proposed at the National Assembly has continued to receive mixed reactions from a cross section of Nigerians.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a group at the National Assembly plans to sponsor a bill for a fresh amendment of the 1999 Constitution, to include areas like the contentious tenure elongation.

The group is pushing for a single six-year tenure for the president and governors.

Some Nigerians interviewed in Lagos on Wednesday were of the view that the proposal would give elected officers enough time to perform, while others believed it would not pave the way for good governance.

Mr. Wilson Odum-Ojobi, Deputy National Chairman, United Nigeria Peoples Party (UNPP), told NAN that the proposal would eradicate the attitude of elective office holders wanting a third term.

“An elected office holder works for only two years because the first year is used to settle down and puts the ministers in place.

“By the time that is done, the man has only two years to work and by the third year, he is already preparing for election.

“Because he would not have performed, he spends so much to be re-elected and by the time he comes back for the second term, he begins to consolidate what he has spent,” Odum-Ojobi said.

According to him, the six-year single term tenure is better as it gives others the opportunity to also serve.

Mallam Danjuma Mohammed, National Chairman, Movement for the Restoration and Defense of Democracy (MRDD), advised the National Assembly not to use the instrument of the people to steal power.

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“If the National Assembly meant well for Nigeria, it should not allow the six-year single tenure to start with the incumbent.

“It should be after the expiration of the tenure of the present administration as starting with the incumbent is immoral, unjustifiable, fraudulent and unconstitutional,” Mohammed said.

According to him, democracy is meant to last and whatever tenure is allowed, the elected persons should make some impacts and do the best to enhance good governance.

For Mr. Sam Onimisi, National Secretary, Democratic Peoples Alliance (DPA), however, the planned six-year single tenure would not pave way for good governance.

“We are used to four-year term renewable by another term. I think we should stick to this rather than changing it to six years,” he said.

According to Onimisi, somebody who will govern correctly will govern correctly whether he has a three-year tenure or 20-year term.

He said that the tenure elongation would be wrong if it was done to favour the incumbent who had promised to stay for only one term.

“If he does very well in the first four years and if Nigerians say we want him for another four years, so be it.

“It is better for him to re-contest in 2015 than to go for tenure elongation which is not good for the country’s democracy,” Onimisi said.

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