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Restructuring Labour Party, NCP, others disagree over 6-year single term proposal for presidency

The National Chairman of Labour Party, Alhaji Abdulkadir Abdulsalam, said he supports restructuring but not a six-year single term proposal.

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Politicians disagree over 6-year single term for presidency play

Ohanaeze Ndigbo

(Punch)

Some political parties in the country, on Tuesday, May 22, disagreed over the proposed six-year single term for president and governors as a panacea to the country’s political problem.

The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, had on Monday recommended a 6-year single term for the country and states’ executive heads, among other resolutions at a one-day summit on restructuring of the Nigerian federation in Anambra.

A cross-section of political party leaders, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, either opposed or supported the idea.

The National Chairman of Labour Party, Alhaji Abdulkadir Abdulsalam, said although he did not oppose the clamour for restructuring, such proposal by the Ohanaeze of a six-year single term would not work.

"No, I don’t agree with that! Everybody has his concept of what Nigeria’s restructure should be. So that is their own concept of restructuring.

"My own concept of restructuring may be different. So everybody is free to express whatever he or she believes on how Nigeria should be restructured,” he said.

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Abdulsalam however said he was satisfied with the current structure of the country’s executive head.

Barrister Kehinde Edun, National Secretary, Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), also disagreed with the recommendation, saying the present system is still the best.

According to him, the present structure gives you the opportunity to get reward for performance.

"I believe a two-term arrangement is still the best. If in your first term in office you performed well, people will appreciate you by voting you for the second term.

"But if you know you will only be there for one term, you can do whatever you like. Although there may be some checks and balances but how many people have been engaged in Nigeria.

"Once they get there, there will be executive power which they use to continue to suppress the people and do whatever they like and get away with it,” he remarked.

But for Abdulrazaq Yusuf, the National Secretary of United Democratic Party (UDP), the idea by the Ohanaeze is a welcome development.

He said if entrenched in the constitution, it would solve the problem of exclusion.

"This will address issues of lack of inclusion. People don’t feel included in governance. That is why there is this cry of marginalisation across board, even the northerners are crying about being marginalized.

"So this might be a way of solving the problem of exclusion in government,” he said.

He said it would also solve the problem of non-performance and blame game that characterises the present structure.

"The idea that a government comes, it doesn’t do much in four years and it claims that it does not have enough time and that it will now work in the second term will be resolved.

"Once a president or governor knows that he has only six years, he starts working from day one because he knows he is not coming back. This may help us,” he said.

According to him, if Nigeria wants to evolve, that is something that we should consider because the situation of every four years, this massive jostling for the presidency does not do Nigeria any good.

"That is why Nigeria, technically, is not developing. So it is something we should consider,” he said.

He explained that the system should begin with each section of all the geo-political zones having a taste of presidency, making it thirty-six years.

"By then, Nigeria would have developed to a stage where merit will now be the order of the day. So it is something that we should consider,” he added.

Also, Mr Kenneth Udeze, the National Chairman of Action Alliance (AA), corroborated Yusuf’s statement.

His words: "There is nothing wrong with the position of Ohanaeze Ndigbo. The most important thing is for us to have the capacity to lobby the legislators to make sure that this thing is being built in our constitution.

"Without this coming into the constitution, it can never work. A lot of people have wonderful ideas, great ideas of restructuring, true federalism, fiscal federalism. All these are options.

"But are our legislators willing to make sure that as representatives of the people, they are able to marry this into their legislative functions, making sure that these laws are being passed?

"You can see what is happening in Nigeria for a very long time; we are just nine months away to the general elections, the Electoral Act has not been passed.

"So my party is not against it. That is why our party’s slogan is let the masses live. Whatever thing that will be for the common good of the masses is what we support,” he said.

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On his part, Dr Yunusa Tanko, the National Chairman of the National Conscience Party (NCP), who expressed reservation, said the proposal by the south east region is debatable.

"For the issue of one tenure in office, it may work for six year term but each has its own challenges. There is this impunity; the moment that it is six year, he knows that he only has one tenure. So he can do and undo.

"The idea of having a two term in office is that when you do well, people will vote you again and if you don’t do well, they will easily remove you.

"So you have the fear of wanting to do better because you know you will seek for a reelection. So a tenure may not be too visible and it will not give room for performances as it were.

"But if there is a way we can count it that somebody will know that when he performs within that six years, he is comfortable to make sure that he does something good for the people, I will support it.”

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