By Lawrence Olaoye & Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
The Presidency has said that President Muhammadu Buhari harbours no thought of tenure extension beyond 2023.
This is as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) cautioned the All Progressives Congress (APC) and “the cabal in the Buhari Presidency” against plots to push a third term agenda for President Muhammadu Buhari.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on media and publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, in an apparent reaction to certain political movements calling for an amendment to the constitution to allow Buhari continue in government beyond 2023 said the President, as a democrat won’t follow the footsteps of one of his predecessors who attempted to alter the constitution to allow him beyond his constitutional two terms in office.
It will be recalled that former President Olusegun Obasanjo had been alleged to have made surreptitious attempts to amend the constitution to allow him to continue in office beyond 2007 after his constitutional two terms.
Shehu in the statement said “The Presidency wishes to correct internet-based gossip and un-informced media commentary regarding presidential term limits, given credence by so-called support groups, staging street demonstrations asking President Muhammadu Buhari to do a third term.
There are no circumstances – nor set of circumstances – under which President Buhari may seek to amend the Constitution regarding the two-term term limit on holding office as President.
President Buhari intends to serve his full second elected term in office, ending 2023 – and then there shall be a general election in which he will not be a candidate.
There is not even the faintest possibility that this will change.
It is important to note that there was a past attempt to change the Constitution to allow for the-then incumbent president to stand for a third term. That attempt was wrong, unconstitutional – and rightly rebuffed. No such attempt will happen under this President.
President Buhari is a democrat. He respects the Constitution. Any activity aimed at altering the two-term limit will not succeed and shall never have his time nor support.”
Meanwhile the PDP said any move to smuggle third term will be dangerous and capable of derailing the democracy and destabilizing the nation.
The party gave the warning in a statement yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan in Abuja.
The PDP berated the statements by the Presidency and the APC as unhealthy ploy to introduce a repugnant issue into official discourse in a bid to give it a life and achieve its fruition in the political arena.
The party said that it is preposterous for the Presidency cabal and the APC to think that Nigerians cannot see through their shenanigan to import and elevate what they labeled as rumor and internet-based gossip, into official national discourse.
According to the statement by Ologbondiyan, “Our party notes that Nigerians will not be surprised when, after the statements by the Presidency and APC, new groups surface to orchestrate more forceful agitations in the public space for the alteration of the 1999 Constitution to achieve an ignoble aim.
“The PDP however cautions the Presidency and the APC to note that Nigerians are already aware of individuals and political interests in the Presidency cabal in addition to known APC agents who are behind the street demonstrations for a third term for President Buhari.
“The party invites Nigerians to note how, having been busted, the presidency cabal and the APC are now groping for ways to cover their trails by making frivolous allegations which directly point back to them.
“The party therefore urges President Muhammadu Buhari to personally speak out and immediately call his supporters to order as Nigerians will never allow anybody, no matter how highly placed, to alter any part of our constitution to serve a selfish interest.
“The PDP insists that this has become imperative in view of the series of constitutional violations and provocative undermining of our laws by the APC and power mongers in the Buhari Presidency.