PRESS RELEASE, July 26, 2011
President Jonathan and Tenure of Office
President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is to send a Constitution amendment Bill to the National Assembly that will provide a single tenure for the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Governors of the 36 states of the Federation. In the envisaged Bill, the tenure of members of the National and State Assemblies will also be a little more than four years, although lawmakers will still be eligible for re-election as their constituencies may determine.
President Jonathan’s commitment to a single term for the President and Governors is borne out of a patriotic zeal, after a painstaking study and belief that the constitutionally guaranteed two terms for Presidents and Governors is not helping the focus of Governance and institutionalization of democracy at this stage of our development. A longer term for lawmakers would also help to stabilise the polity.
President Jonathan is concerned about the acrimony which the issue of re-election, every four years, generates both at the Federal and State levels. The nation is still smarting from the unrest, the desperation for power and the overheating of the polity that has attended each general election, the fall-out of all this is the unending inter and intra-party squabbles which have affected the growth of party democracy in the country, and have further undermined the country’s developmental aspirations.
In addition, the cost of conducting party primaries and the general elections have become too high for the economy to accommodate every four years. The proposed amendment Bill is necessary to consolidate our democracy and allow elected Executives to concentrate on governance and service delivery for their full term, instead of running governments with re-election as their primary focus.
This clarification has become necessary in the light of certain reports in a section of the media that the proposed Bill is meant to elongate President Goodluck Jonathan’s tenure.
Nothing can be more untrue. The energy that has been devoted to speculations on the content of the likely bill is akin to an attempt to force the abortion of a non-existent pregnancy. The details of the Bill will be clear in terms of its provisions when it is forwarded to the National Assembly for consideration. The President makes it clear that his push for a single tenure for the office of the President and that of the Governors is not borne out of any personal interest. The proposed amendment will not have anything to do with him as a person; what he owes Nigerians is good governance, and he is singularly committed to this. Besides, it is trite law that the envisaged amendment cannot have a retroactive effect. This means that whatever single-term tenure that is enacted into law by the National Assembly will take effect from 2015.
The President also states that the greater good of Nigeria is greater than the ambition of any one individual. The envisaged Bill is part of the Jonathan administration’s transformation agenda aimed at sanitizing the nation’s politics. The President believes that this single move, when actualized, will change the face of our politics and accelerate the overall development of our nation. If the proposed amendment is accepted by the National Assembly, the President assures that he will not in any way be a beneficiary.
Special Adviser to the President (Media and Publicity)