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Single tenure, rotational presidency/governorship: Nigerians hail lawmakers

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Friday, June 14th, 2024
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Many Nigerians have declared their support for the proposed bills by 35 members of the House of Representatives seeking a single term of six years for the president and state governors as well rotation of the presidency among the country’s six geopolitical zones and rotation of the governorship among the three senatorial districts in the state.

A spokesperson for the lawmakers under the auspices of the Reformed-minded Legislators, Ikenga Ugochinyere, said the proposal would reduce cost of governance, unite the country, and ensure a seamless transition and unprecedented development. Throwing their weight behind the bill, Nigerians argued that if passed into law, the bills would

end agitations, redefine the country’s democracy and bring peace and equity.

Some citizens however dismissed the proposal saying a single six-year tenure was not the way out for many problems besetting the country and would not change anything.

Rotational presidency ‘ll end agitations —Mazi Ohuabunwa

Former Chairman, National Economic Summit, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, said a single six-year term for the President will arrest the unnecessary fight and desperation associated with second term bid. According to him, “This idea is fantastic. I think the proponents are the most patriotic Nigeria lawmakers I have ever seen or heard in recent times. I’m so impressed that they have looked at all the issues causing trouble in Nigeria. They have just given solutions to Nigeria’s problems.

They have given a very simple solution. A single-term presidency will put a stop to all the trouble that we have been going through in this country. Somebody who is fighting to succeed because of a second term will stop. This is the time you see the fiercest fight because the incumbent uses government resources to impose himself/herself on the people unlike in the first term where one depends on one’s personal resources. Second term bid is when the country is shaking and wants to break but this single term presidency will solve it.”

On rotation of presidency, he said, “Rotation of presidency will bring peace and equity. It will minimize friction because everybody will have to wait for their turn. It will also bring healthy competition among the six geopolitical zones. So, I support it and want all the lawmakers to support it. I also want all the elections to be held in one day. Let’s also adopt electronic transmission of election results. I just wish that other National Assembly members would wake up and stop being anti-Nigeria or thinking of how it will benefit them first.

The fate of the bill would however be decided by the disposition of the Government in power. If the government in power agrees with the proposition, it will pass easily but if the government is lackadaisical over it, then we are in trouble. The President used to talk of reforms but he has stopped. But if he believes in reforms and works towards it, the bill will pass”.

A single-term will reduce corruption, cost of elections — Emiaso, a retired judge

Also supporting the bill, an ex-president of the Delta State Area Customary Court, Miakpor Emiaso, said, “A single-term system is good for this country, given our experiences with conducting elections for a second term. The second tenure arrangement encourages massive corruption on the part of governors and presidents who want to return for a second term.

They loot public money and reserve it for elections. If there is no second tenure, he will do his best in the six years that he has to be there. A single-term arrangement will reduce corruption and the cost of elections.

It is very advantageous to our political system and it should be encouraged. It is not as if it does not have its disadvantages, but I think the advantages heavily outweigh the disadvantages. With the second term arrangement, you hear arguments that we started projects that we want to complete, but with a six-year single tenure system, you start a project, and any time you leave, the incoming administration will continue from where you stopped. We should have an arrangement under our laws that would bind incoming administrations to continue whatever projects the previous administrations have invested public funds into.”

On rotational presidency, he said, “It should be rotational to reflect the federal character of this country to make sure that no part of this country is treated as second class and not capable of producing the president. When you talk of rotation at the federal level; you must also talk of rotation at the state level. It should cut across the entire spectrum of the country and of the states. It creates balance and encourages everyone to be part of the system without any part feeling that they are being marginalized or treated as second-rate citizens.”

The bills will solve our inability to manage our diversity—Adima

A political activist, Mr Blessing Adima said: “For the single term, I give the House of Representatives, kudos, and thumbs up. They are trying to implement a section of the 2014 National Confab, which recommended a single-term tenure for the President. When those who are elected know that they have one tenure, they cannot afford to fail because when they fail, they know that they will have a bad record. The politicians are lazy because they think they have a second term and by the time they get it, they are already used to the bad system of governance.

I think the members of the House of Representatives are on the right track for single tenure. I am in support of it. On rotational presidency, it is a welcome development. For me, with the complex nature of Nigeria and our inability to manage our diversity, the issue of rotation is crucial to us so that nobody will be crying of marginalization.”

Let it be five-year single tenure—Idi, Isoko youth leader

National Secretary of the Ndokwa National Youth Movement, NNYM, Comrade Presley Idi said: “For us as a people, we support the call for a single term, but we think instead of six years, it should be made five. Six years is almost the same as two terms of four years each.

One of the reasons we support a single term is that the majority of Nigerian leaders, especially the governors, once elected, immediately start channeling all resources to their re-election bid, thereby sacrificing governance. On the need for rotation amongst the six geo-political zones in the country, yes, it is a welcome development but we do not think it would solve Nigeria’s problem.

Instead of a rotational presidency, let us practice true federalism and elect into power those we know who can lead us in the right direction instead of zoning.”

Power rotation will give people sense of hope, belonging — Oyiborhoro, UHS president

On his part, the president of Urhobo Historical Society, UHS, Chief Aruegodore Oyiborhoro, said, “We have no option since they invariably force a second term on the electorate, whether they win or lose.

Sadly, elections are still a sham since the people’s revered votes do not count. What they want to do is shave off two years from periods of their unwanted hold on to power. Power rotation will give the people a sense of hope and belonging. Therefore, it is good.”

Yes to single six-year tenure—HRM Ararile, Delta monarch

The (Ovie) traditional ruler of Umiagwa-Abraka Kingdom, Delta State, HRM Ochuko Ararile, Awaeke I, said, “the single six-year tenure tallies with my thought, but with parliamentary instead of a presidential system.”

Some citizens however expressed their opposition to the bill on the ground that it is not the solution to the many problems confronting us as a nation.

A single six-year tenure is not the solution – Ekerefe, ex-IYC spokesperson

Ex-spokesman, Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) worldwide/national leader, New Era Movement, Ebilade Ekerefe, stated; “I do not believe that a single term of six years for presidents and governors is the solution to the problems of Nigeria. What is important is the character, competence, and capacity of the individual occupying the office. What is more important is if the people can feel the impact of your government.

Therefore, it is not about power rotation but the capacity to deliver. We expect the lawmakers to focus more on proposing a constitutional amendment that will entrench true fiscal federalism in the country. Under the existing arrangement, power is too concentrated at the center, which has made most states ineffective and unproductive. If we must get it right, there should be amendments that will give more power to states to deal with their peculiar socioeconomic challenges.”

It will change nothing — Gbemre, activist

The coordinator, Niger Delta Peace Coalition, Zik Gbemre asserted, “Adopting six years will not change anything. It will not reduce inflation or the high exchange rate. The same set of politicians ruling the nation and diverting our commonwealth into their private vaults will hold sway and keep the populace in bondage. We need to respect the rule of law and sound economic policies with the political will to implement them to bring about good governance.

It won’t address our problem — Morris, activist

Environmentalist and former secr etary of the Civil Liberties Organization, CLO, Alagoa Morris, said, “As attractive as it could be, I just wonder how it will address the greed of Nigerians. For me, making social institutions stronger and more effective may be of help. The independence of the three arms of government would help where check and balance work.”

We don’t need a single six-year tenure – Lloyd, ex-Rivers lawmaker

The former majority leader of the Rivers state House of Assembly, Dr. Chidi Lloyd, said in Port-Harcourt, “Rotational presidency or six-year single term is not the problem of the country at the moment. The constitution is very clear on how the country should be governed. Whether we have majority ethnic groups and minorities among the six zones, the constitution does not make any provision for dominance. Every zone has equal opportunity before the constitution and the law.”

No to six-year single tenure — Chigozie, public opinion analyst

A public opinion analyst, Mr. Ngozi Chigozie said in Warri, Delta state, “I oppose a single term of six years because it will be an invitation to come and plunder public resources. The country will achieve nothing meaningful in such a setting. The desire to be reelected for a second term explains why some of them strive to make an impact in their first terms.”

Why we’re sponsoring the bill — 35 Reps

35 members of the House of Representatives behind the bill have given reasons for introducing bill seeking to amend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as Amended) to limit the period which any individual can serve as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Governor of State from two terms of 4 years each to a single 6-year tenure, rotational Presidency and Governorship, conduct of all elections in one day, the conclusion of all pre-election matters before election, resolutions of all post-election matters before swearing in, and mandatory transmission of results, among others.

A spokesperson for the lawmakers, Ikenga Ugochinyere said, “We are lawmakers of like minds and committed to the 10th House Agenda of building a democracy that works for all using legislative instrument.

“We are a group of over 30 reform-minded lawmakers from different political parties who have come together and are committed to ensuring a working Nigeria using legislative instruments within our power to ensure the reduction of cost of governance and campaigns, unite our country, ensure a seamless transition, continuity, uninterrupted development, justice, equity, independence of INEC, efficient use of state resources, tackle nepotism, state capture, and corruption in electoral processes, etc.

“There is no doubt that our country is in desperate need of a long-lasting solution to our poor economic situation, insecurity, disunity, weak institutions, weak health and education sector, corruption in public sectors, and waste of state resources.

“We have now reached a critical phase where what is at stake is the very survival of Nigeria as one political and economic unit. We must rise to the challenge, and what we do with this opportunity given to us by our people matters a lot”.

According to him, “These bills which are 50 in number will touch on every aspect of development in all sectors of our economy and well-being as a nation. The purpose of the bill is to reduce government spending and wastage, promote efficiency in governance, and engender national stability by providing a single term of six years for the President and Governors.

The amendment to create the office of two vice presidents from the southern and northern parts of Nigeria is aimed at making the 1st vice president to be a succession Vice president, while the 2nd Vice president will be a Minister in charge of the Economy. To get the electoral process right, the proposed bills will address, capture and eradicate corruption in the electoral processes”.

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