The six-year single term for President, Vice President, governors and their deputies being proposed by the Senate Committee on Constitution Review, has been rejected by the Arewa Consultative Forum and the Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere.
They argued that it will not only encourage corruption but will also discourage good performance in public office. Their counterpart in the South-East, Ohanaeze, which articulates the socio-cultural views of Ndigbo, is however in full support of the recommendation, saying it is in line with the desire of Ndigbo.
In the committee’s recommendations which would bar President Goodluck Jonathan and incumbent first term governors from re-contesting their positions in the 2015 election, incumbent Vice-President and deputy governors are also to be precluded from elections to succeed their principals under the six-year single term,Vanguard has learnt.
Details of the Senate committee’s recommendations obtained byVanguard, yesterday, also showed that the offices of the Minister of Justice and that of the Attorney-General of the Federation would be split to insulate the Attorney-General from political influence of the appointing president.
Also to be split is the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, from which would be carved out a functional office of the Accountant-General of the Federation which would see the latter restricted to handling accounts of the Federal Government.
Besides, a number of other constitutional items now held as being on the exclusive legislative list including railways and minimum wage would be carved out to a concurrent legislative list, Vanguardlearnt.
The proposal to decentralize the present national minimum wage is to allow different states to fix wages in line with their endowments.
It was also gathered that members of the committee have also agreed to give full autonomy to the state houses of assembly and put the State Independent Electoral Commissions on first line charge, just as democratically elected local government councils.
However, the proposal for a six-year single tenure for executive office holders, yesterday, generated strong emotions among the dominant cultural groups in the country. The proposal, which according to senators is aimed at stifling the often cantankerous campaign for second term, it was learnt, would also stop the vice-president and deputy governors from contesting election to succeed their sitting principals.
“The only way a vice-president or deputy governor can succeed his principal is through death or removal from office and once he or she enters that office, he cannot run for election for that office,” a source told Vanguard yesterday.
It was learnt that the proviso is directed at ensuring that presidents and their vice-presidents and governors and their deputies work harmoniously without suspicion of the deputy plotting to succeed his principal.
ACF rejects proposal
ACF, in rejecting the six-year single tenure for presidents and governors, said the system would not only encourage corruption, but also discourages performance in public office.
National Publicity Secretary of the ACF, Mr Anthony Sani, made this known in a statement, yesterday, in which he pointed out that the system would not advance the cause of good governance.
The statement read: “The attention of ACF has been drawn to the reported recommendations by the Senate for provision in the constitution for a single tenure of six years for presidents and governors. Such a provision would be counter-productive, precisely because it cannot further the cause of good governance that goes with purposeful leadership, especially when regard is paid to the fact that it lacks the basic elements of motivation and incentives needed in any management of human affairs for performance.
“In the single tenure system, there are no incentives, motivation and reward that can inspire for excellent performance. And this has to do with the fact that the good, the not-so-good and the feckless leaders, are grouped together in the same hall without any distinction. Such a practice cannot deliver on good governance. That may explain why most countries in the world practice multiple tenure systems which enable leaders to aspire for excellence in the hope of reward by way of re-election.”
It’s not acceptable —Afenifere
Stating the objection of Afenifere to the six-year single tenure proposal, the Publicity Secretary of the socio-cultural group, Mr. Yinka Odumakin said:
“Afenifere rejects it and if you are talking of a single tenure, it should not be more than four years and deputies need to succeed their bosses since they are not the ones on top of the ticket.
“But to say one tenure of six years and to benefit the incumbents, I think that is tenure elongation and it is not acceptable to us and I think six years is too long to put up with a bad government. If you have a bad government, the hope of changing it in four years is better than waiting for six years. So, we are opposed to it, we object to it, we are for the current four year renewable tenure but if they are insisting on one term, it should not be more than four years.”
It’s in line with our desire—Ohanaeze
Ohanaeze, however, strongly expressed its support for the proposal.
Reacting to the proposal, Secretary General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr. Joe Nwaorgu said that the measure, if adopted, would ensure peace and progress as well as eliminate inherent injustices in the country.
He said: “This is in keeping with the submission of Ohanaeze Ndigbo to the Constitution Review Committee. We want a six-year single tenure for the president and it should be rotational among the six geopolitical zones. That is our submission to the Constitution Review Committee and we stand by that.”
“We also stand by the devolution of power to the six-geopolitical zones or regions as the federating units of the country. We also stand on complete true federalism.
“We support the senate position totally because it is in line with the collective wishes and aspirations of our people.
“If it is done and equity is inherent therein, there will be peace and commitment to the nation. At the moment, in present circumstances, nobody is patriotic in this nation because of the inherent injustices in the polity. These need to be redressed lest there will be an implosion. All parts of the federation must be seen as equal stakeholders, there from, there will be progress and development.”
JD:I had always believed that the constitutional reforms embarked upon by the National Assembly was procedurally wrong.Though i believe a national conference, sovereign or not might not be feasible constitutionally ,a referendum should have been put in place to allow Nigerians decide how they want to move forward.Whilst one recognizes the rights of individuals and groups to contribute to national discourse,it is imperative to state clearly that most of these tribal groups are at best tribal clubs and really cannot speak for and on behalf of their people.Would we say the Afenifere has the mandate of the Yoruba to speak for them,,or the Ohaneze for the Ibo,or for that manner the ACF for the North?Definitely not.If anything historically one tends to believe that most of these groups serve their own self interest and at the moment when it mattered most have been found wanting.This new exercise at reforms would only give birth to one thing;a legitimate demand for another set of reforms.So,lets do the right thing and let the will of the people prevail.A referendum is it!