Adedayo Akinwale ín Abuja
The House of Representatives has rejected a bill proposing single term of six years for the president and governors, as well as members of the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly.
The bill sponsored Hon. John Dyegh, died a sudden death as lawmakers fiercely opposed the bill at the resumption of plenary on Tuesday.
Almost all the members that contributed to the discussion spoke against the Bill which was read for second reading.
In his lead debate, Dyegh, said that democracies the world over faces problems of representation, adding that fledging, nascent and emerging democracies in particular tend to face high level of challenges.
He stressed that in Nigeria in most cases, the common sense of humanity when lives matter is lost during re-elections, noting that lives are lost as a result of desperate struggle to remain in power for a second tenure.
Dyegh stated: “Limiting terms of oflice of a president or gorvenor to a single, elongated tenure therefore offers a promising, long time solution to the avoidable loss of limbs, lives and sources of living attributable to conflicts arising out of re-election processes.
“You will agree with me that the present four years plus four years tenures of 8 years is not helping matters, it is taking us backwards. Practically speaking. the occupier of the seat spends only two years in the first and the remaining two years fighting re-election which in Nigeria is many times more expensive than the first election and mostly dependent on lean resources of the State allegedly.
“In the second tenure he spends two and half years working on the remaining one and half years preparing his exit/soft landing and installation of a successor. So the total times spent for actual work for the state is not more than four and half years of the 8 years.”
Dyegh insisted that the six-year single term would afford the President or Governor to be more focused, more dedicated and the usual do or die battles for re-elections would be eliminated, no lives would be lost, money would be saved, while the country would experience better development.
The lawmaker noted high turnover of legislators in the nation constitutes loss of experience and institutional knowledge and failure of entrenching loyalty to the electorate.
Dyegh explained that in the judiciary, a Law graduate rises from a magistrate through the ranks to be a High court Judge or Supreme Court Justices and as such, the judiciary is very rich in terms of experience and institutional knowledge, stressing that judges can very easily make references to cases dating over 30 years, saying this is totally lacking in our legislature.
In his contribution, Hon. Sagius Ogui, said he was in support support of the bill because it would save the country’s democracy, considering the huge amount the executive always spend while seeking a second term in office.
Also, Hon. Yusuf Gagdi, said that the country’s democracy did not require a six-year single term for the executive, stressing that the Electoral Act should rather be strengthened.
On his part, Hon. Olumide Osoba, noted that what the country needs is electoral reform and not tenure extension.
In his submission, the minority leader, Ndudi Elumelu, said that the immunity clause for governors and president should be removed.
According to him, “Why we are having all these issue is because of immunity. We should remove immunity clause in the constitution for the governors and the president to allow fir accountability.”