By Suleiman Umaru
Barely four months after the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari for his second term in office, the fifth Columnist who tried to fly the kite to force former President Olusegun Obasanjo to alter the 199 Constitution as amended , to seek a third term agenda on the ground that he is the best for the country appear to be back to work.
This time , they are testing the waters to see how the Katsina state born Nigerian President would key into the plan and throw his weight behind them to go ahead with the sensitization Campaign of the public about the third term agenda for Buhari.
They may have got it wrong as he is not ready to support their plot to alter the Constitutional arrangement of the country which gives a maximum of two terms for Presidents. The President who is in Pretoria on the invitation of Cyril Ramaphosa, the South African President with 10 state governors and a retinue of ministers, may not be in the country to respond to the third agenda campaigners but Garba Shehu , a Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity , may have spoken his mind when he said ‘’there was no plans to amend the Constitution regarding the two-term limit for Presidents’’.
Garba noted that although there had been attempt in the past to change the Constitution to suit then President Olusegun Obasanjo who was desperate to stand for a third term in office but was turned down by the National Assembly. Describing the plot as ‘’wrong and unconstitutional’’, he asserted that it would not fly under the Administration of Buhari, a sworn Democrat who’’ respects the Constitution and would never support any activity aimed at altering the Constitutional provisions of the country’’.
The Presidential Spokesperson assured Nigerians that that they have no reason to lose sleep over the alleged plan as the’ ‘’President intends to serve his full second term in office , ending in 2023 and then there shall be a general election in which he will not be a Candidate’’ . He insists that ‘’there is not even the faintest possibility that this will change’’.
Recall that about six months ago, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, Spokesperson to Ahmad Lawan, the senate President, had dismissed the alleged plot to amend the Constitution to allow for a third term in office of the President as false. The news became so pronounced that Abdullahi was forced to speak out linking the report to those opposed to the emergence of the Borno state politician as the Senate President. According to him they had feared that his emergence as the Senate President would pave the way for the amendment of the Constitution for Buhari to seek a third term in office because of their closeness.
Abdullahi who could not hide his feelings described those peddling the third term agenda for Buhari as ‘’desperate politicians who want to taint the good image of the Senate President’’ . There is no gain saying the fact that the President had repeatedly made it clear to those that cares to listen that he wants to retire quietly to his home town, Daura, in Katsina state in 2023, to his farm business.
Given his avowed intention to serve his full second term, he has vowed to leave a lasting legacy of governance behind for future Nigerian leaders. The failure of Obasanjo to achieve his third term agenda in 2007, which was said to have been frustrated by Atiku Abubakar, then Vice President, may have been the reason why the former President had refused to support Atiku’s Presidential ambition, insisting that he is not fit to rule the country.
Despite the politics of the third term tem agenda for Presidents which had started during the Obasanjo regime, Ayo Adebanjo, an elder Statesman and Chieftain of Afenifere, a Yoruba socio-cultural Organisation has lamented that the country had not been lucky to have the ‘’right people at the helm of Affairs while reviewing the country’s 59 years of Independence on Channels Television last on Tuesday.
An aggrieved Adebanjo stressed that the myriads of challenges which the country had faced since 1960 and now are mainly due to the quality of the leaders as they could not find solutions to them. The only time, which he claimed the country was fortunate to have the right leaders at the helm of Affairs was between 1960 and 1963.
Given his assessment of the country political leaders after 1963, he explained that the people ‘’we have been unfortunate to have , do not had the direction of those who fought for the country’s Independence , describing them as’’ big disappointment’’. He stopped short at saying that since the military intervention in the country’s politics in 1966, ‘’we have not been fortunate with leadership’’. He is right.
Tanko Yakassai, an elder Statesman, and a Chieftain of Arewa Consultative Forum, believes that the restructuring of the country would solve the leadership problem as every region would be allowed to develop at its own pace as obtained in the First Republic. Edwin Clark, a former Federal Commissioner of Communications, under the former General Yakubu Gowon Administration and an Ijaw leader wwho remains one of the strongest supporters for the restructuring of the country over the last four years, He has made it clear to those cares to listen including Atiku, the People’s Presidential Candidate, who called on his Abuja home recently that the ‘’restructuring of Nigeria is irreversible’’.
But, Garba, the President’s Spokesperson would want Nigerians to believe that the APC government was not opposed to the restructuring of the country but could only be guided by the resolution of the National Assembly on the matter.
He wants the people advocating for the restructuring of the country to go through the Lawmakers , noting that ‘’anything outside the Parliament are not representative of the will of the people’’. This is where Lawan, the Senate President, may have to mobilise his Colleagues in the Hallowed Chamber, to tell Nigerians their position on the restructuring of the country to finally put it to rest or it would remain recurring decimal in the country’s body polity.
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