Why Nigeria should revisit single term for governors and president – Ike Ekweremadu

Deputy Senate president, Ike Ekweremadu has urged Nigerians to reconsider single term for governors and president.

The deputy SP said this in a facebook post on Wednesday. Ekweremadu said with the 2019 elections in view, politicians are doing all they can to get into power or remain in power. He noted that as a result, governance is at the receiving end.

He believes that a single term of 5 or 6 years for governors and president will reduce the political tension that accompanies elections.

Ekweremadu said some countries in South America practiced it before, when they faced similar situation as Nigeria.

He said many of them, transitioned from military and autocratic regimes and their democracies became threatened  with incumbents overheating the polity with their desire to perpetuate themselves in power.

He wrote:

“As is always the case, Nigeria’s political atmosphere is getting toxic ahead of the 2019 general election and governance is taking a backseat.

Unfortunately, this atmosphere, with the accompanying brazen political excesses, are unlikely to abate until well after the 2019 general election.”

“Unable to resist the temptations that come with enormous power of incumbency, those who call the shots today, throw everything within their reach into the mix in desperate efforts to retain power at all cost and by all means. The feverish political climate in the country today, once again, justifies the call by some of us for a single term of five or six years for the president and governors.

“Although a renewable four-year term is popular, societies are dynamic and it is up to us to make necessary constitutional adjustments to safeguard our democracy and make periods leading up to our elections less toxic.

“In the 1970s, many Latin American democracies faced the same challenges we face in Nigeria today. As many of them transited from military and autocratic regimes to democratic regimes, they discovered that the politics of succession, including incumbents’ penchant for self-perpetuation, overheated their polities and threatened their democracies.

“They adopted the single term presidency until such a time their respective democracies matured and stabilised. Although virtually all of them have reverted to two-term presidency, Mexico still practices single term presidency, called Sexino. She also retained the Sexino in the 2014 constitution amendment.

“In Nigeria’s case we proposed a single term for the president and governors with several transitional options during the constitution amendment exercise in the seventh national assembly. Unfortunately, it was misunderstood by various political and sectional interests for various reasons and the proposal did not succeed.

“However, I strongly believe a single term of five or six years for president and governors, even if for a stipulated period as was the case with several Latin American democracies, is something Nigerians should revisit after the 2019 general election.”

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