By Christiana Ekpa
The House of Representatives yesterday rejected a bill seeking to provide for a single tenure of six years for president, governors as well as a six years term for members of the National Assembly and State Assemblies respectively.
The constitutional amendment bill seeks to provide a single term for President and Governors but provide unlimited term of six years for members of the national assembly and state houses of assembly.
The bill, sponsored by John Dyegh ( Benue PDP) was supposed to scale second reading at Tuesday’s plenary session before it was utterly rejected by the lawmakers.
Debating on the bill, most of the lawmakers kicked against it, arguing that there is nothing wrong with the system Nigeria currently operates.
However, one of the few lawmakers who spoke in favor of the bill, including Sergius Ogun from Edo state argued that, it would save the country the funds used to conduct elections after the initial four-year tenure.
“This bill intends to also save the money being spent on elections for second term. It will save this country and our democracy,” Ogun said.
Henry Archibong from Akwa Ibom state also stated that, the focus should be on improving Nigeria’s electoral process and not on the number of terms an elected official stays in office.
“How can we make electoral processes and elections credible and less expensive,” he asked. “This is the issue we ought to address and not the number of terms.”
Also Yusuf Gagdi from Plateau state, said there is nothing wrong with the current system of four-year tenure with a limit of two tenures for the executive.
He added that in an ideal democracy, “you cannot ask the president to perform a six year tenure and expect a good performance.”
“Our problem is our inability to respect our rules. Our democracy does not need six year single term for the executive,” he said.
“What it needs it to maintain what is in place for the executive and national assembly. What we need is to improve our elections and ensure we have a system that will not fail Nigerians.
“It is not the time to say we will amend the tenure of the executive and the national assembly members.”
Haruna Bello from Kano state also kicked the bill, saying it will fuel the speculation of tenure extension for President Muhammadu Buhari.