Nigeria News

NIGERIA: North Opposes Single Term for President, Governors

The north has kicked against a recommendation of the Senate in the ongoing efforts to amend the 1999 Constitution for a single tenure of six years for the president and governors of the 36 states of the federation.

The north, through the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), whose membership cuts across the three geopolitical zones in the area, said in a statement yesterday in Kaduna that if the proposal sails through, it could portend a great danger to democracy.

It explained that a single tenure of six years would not guarantee good governance and development. Instead, it would promote looting of the state’s resources with impunity, the ACF said.

Such a provision, according to the ACF, would be counterproductive, pointing out that it cannot promote good governance which goes with purposeful leadership.

The Senate Committee on the Review of the Constitution in recommending the single tenure for the topmost political office holders at the state and federal levels, argued that it was done with the aim of checking the acrimony that usually trailed re-election bids by them.

The forum stated further in the statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Anthony Sani, that a single tenure lacked the basic elements of motivation and incentives needed in the management of human affairs for performance.
The ACF said with the single tenure system, there would be no incentives, motivation and reward that could inspire presidents and governors, whose tenures would be determined by the amendment, to perform excellently.

Further justifying its opposition to the proposal, the ACF said the system had to do with the fact that the good, the not-so-good and feckless leaders, were grouped together without any distinction, adding that the practice cannot deliver on good governance.

It added that most countries of the world practised the multiple tenure system, which enables leaders to aspire for excellence in the hope of being rewarded by the electorate by getting re-elected.

ACF said: “Those countries, which put limits on their multiple system, like America, do so as a deliberate effort to allow the ingress of fresh hands into governance and leadership. That is to say, they make allowance for motivation and incentives that inspire strides for excellence and also makes allowance for new hands into the multiple tenure system.

“As to the fear of abuse of incumbency prevalent in our political cockpit, it is to be noted that countries device their own ways of curtailing such abuses and do not sacrifice performance by killing motivation, incentives and rewards in the management of human affairs.

“While developed nations have made efforts in brains and brawn to enable their citizens make judicious use of their democratic rights to make their votes count, developing nations are still struggling and so try to put some mechanisms that can check abuse of incumbency.

“For example, Chile practises a multiple tenure system that is not consecutive. That is to say, the constitution does not allow a president or governor of a state to conduct an election in which he is a candidate and that was why the extremely popular president in the person of Madam Michel could not contest for the presidency during the last elections in Chile.

“In the alternative, Nigeria can consider the Bangladesh model which uses a caretaker government to conduct elections. Again, this is because the single tenure cannot manage for performance without incentives, motivation and reward.
“In the single tenure system, the only motivation would be the pillage of state resources that go with unbridled access to state or national resources. The single tenure system is therefore counterproductive.”

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