Reps’ rejection of six-year single term, a missed opportunity, says Atiku
Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has noted that the failure of the House Representatives to pass the six-year single term proposal for the president and state governors is a missed opportunity.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday his media adviser, Paul Ibe, he expressed his displeasure with the speed with which it was rejected by the lawmakers.
He said he was disappointed by the fact that the lawmakers have thrown away the baby with the bathwater at the expense of the larger interest of the country.
Atiku said: “In view of the challenges facing our current democratic order, especially the culture of rigging that subverts the will of the people, the six-year single term would have ended such untoward practices in our electoral process.”
He explained that: “The desperation for the second term by the incumbents is the main reason why they go for broke and set the rule book on fire, thereby making free and fair elections impossible by legitimising rigging at the expense of their challengers that have no access to public funds.
“A situation where the incumbents deploy more public resources to their second term projects than using the funds for people’s welfare encourages massive rigging that undermines electoral integrity.
“Six-year single term would remove such desperation and enable the incumbents to concentrate on the job for which they were elected in the first place.”
The Waziri Adamawa regretted that: “Eight-year term of office rewards incompetence because even incumbents that have failed would use their access to public funds to return to power by fair or foul means.
“I don’t agree with the logic that eight years would give elected leaders a better opportunity to fulfil their campaign promises. An inherently incompetent incumbent will perform below average even if you give him/her 20 years in office or give him or her $20 billion dollars,” Atiku stressed.
According to him: ”It is not how long a man spends in the office, but how well he is adequately prepared for the job.”
He argued that the desperation for the second term is not necessarily driven by patriotism or the passion for service, but by the obsession with the greed for power for its own sake.
“Second term obsession rewards incompetence by allowing failed incumbents to be reelected regardless of their performance record. It also denies political parties the opportunity to replace failed incumbents with better candidates within the parties in the name of the right of first refusal.”
The former Vice President noted that the rejection of the six-year single term was a mistake because little attention was paid to its merits, adding that eight years tenure of four years each sacrifice merit because the incumbents are automatically entitled to reelection regardless of their performance records.
Atiku is however of the view that current holders of the offices under the proposed constitutional review should not be entitled to a six-year term at the expiration of their second term.