27th July, 2011
The alleged move by President Goodluck Jonathan to ensure that the country’s constitution is reviewed to favour a six-year single term for political office holders may be frustrated like the third-term agenda of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Judging from the reaction of members of the Lagos State House of Assembly who spoke with Assembly Matters on the issue, it is believed that Nigerians would vehemently oppose it when the constitution review begins.
While some saw it as another agenda of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), to further pull the country into underdevelopment and enrich greedy politicians, others saw it at a proposal that will be dead on arrival. They reminded the President that former President Obasanjo had tried it while in government and that the move, coupled with other issues, turned the people against him before and after he left office.
According to a lawmaker representing Ikorodu Constituency 2, Adebimpe Akinsola, “whatever the President is doing now is the PDP agenda and you know that the party does not do anything in the interest of the people.
“Whatever policy the party brings up, they think of their own selfish interest first. All those who have one way or the other milked this country still want to find their way to the helms of affairs in this country. He is carrying out the agenda of the party.”
In her reaction, Omowunmi Olatunji-Edet, who represents Oshodi/Isolo Constituency 2, maintained that the proposal may not see the light of day if it was motivated by selfish interest and greed.
“The President is trying to start something that the law does not accommodate and to make this effective, he must amend the law.
“If he is able to buy his way through the House of Representatives and the Senate, he could be accepted by them, but for me, four years is good enough for you to do whatever you want to do for the people.
“If you perform excellently, your people may return you for another term. So this is not an issue that should be debated and if it is borne out of selfishness, I know that in a matter of time, it will be trashed like the normal ones.
“Obasanjo tried it, with all the lobbying and it looked as if it was going to scale through, where is he today? The same thing can happen again.
“I love Nigerians for one thing, if they love such move, they would easily let it go, but if not, the same people shouting your praise today will tell you there is nothing good about your luck,” she stated.
Bolaji Yusuf Ayinla representing Mushin Constituency 2, however, said he was neutral on the issue. But he emphasised that tenure elongation was not the issue but the deliverance of democratic dividends to the people of the country.
“What is important is what the people get from government. The number of years does not have to be debated,” he said, while advising politicians in the country to eschew greed and selfishness and remember that the electorate are now very wise.
Abiodun Tobun, who represents Epe Constituency 1, said he does not support the move by the President.
According to him, the current four-year term is better since it would afford the people the power to either vote for a candidate who has performed well or not, if he performed otherwise.