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Buhari and Third Term By TonyAdemiluyi

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo became a global icon in 1979 after he kept his promise of handing over power to erstwhile President Shehu Shagari. This came at a time when African dictators were sit tight leaders who refused to hand over power and groom their successors. This made him an instant toast of the western media who portrayed him as an exception to the rule. He was instantly a hit with the public speaking circuit abroad and his foundation African Leadership Foundation (ALF) was well received by western leaders who regularly graced his events. He even ran for the office of the United Nations Secretary-General in 1986 which he lost to the Egyptian born Boutrous Boutrous Ghali.

It was surprising that more than two decades later, he allegedly nursed a third term agenda at close to age seventy. It initially started out as well denied rumours which was ultimately defeated in the Senate under the leadership of Ken Nnamani who survived the banana peel as the fifth Senate President under the then Olusegun Obasanjo led Presidency.

History repeats itself because man in his frailty learns the stories but never the lessons. Last year, the rumour mills were agog that President Muhammadu Buhari planned to extend his tenure after 2023 – his constitutionally set exit. The rumour mongers fuelled this greatly in the media which gradually took roots and it was generally ignored by the presidential media handlers.

Sai Baba as the President is fondly called by his ardent supporters finally dispelled the rumours in November last year when he unequivocally said that he had no desire to be in office beyond 2023. He also followed this up with his New Year Message two days ago that he was going to stand down in 2023. In his words: “I understand very well the frustrations our system has in the past triggered. I will be standing down in 2023 and will not be available in any future elections.

Were his messages reassuring to Nigerians? Far from it as there seems to be a surreptitious Voice of Jacob but Hand of Esau which seems to be convincing Nigerians that the ‘reformed democrat’ plans to become like another Robert Mugabe.

Lagos lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), had earlier raised the alarm that President Buhari was nursing a third term agenda.

Falana had noted: “You may have a third term campaign very soon. Very soon, they are going to destroy all possible opponents and they have started.

“So, by the time they bring in the third term agenda, the media would have been gone, but we are not going to allow it.”

This assertion by the renowned human rights activist shouldn’t be taken lightly as his extensive network may be telling him that there is more to it that meets the eyes. He has been in the trenches in the past against the military during the gory days and so this statement shouldn’t be dismissed with the wave of the hand.

Before the president’s declaration, a member of APC in Ebonyi State, Charles Enya, filed a suit in court seeking the amendment of the constitution to allow President Buhari another term in office.

In the suit he filed before a Federal High Court, Enya argued that the two-term tenure limit for president and governors is “discriminatory.”

According to him, “That section 137(1)(b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,1999 (as amended) restricting the president to only two terms of four years each, is inoperative by virtue of its discriminatory nature in relation to the executive and legislative branches of government in Nigeria, and therefore null and void and thus inapplicable.”

He was seeking an “order of the court nullifying and setting aside section 137(1)(b) and 182(1) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended). And directing the first and second defendants to delete and expunge sections 137(1)(b) and 182(1)(b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (as amended).”

Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), Clerk of the National Assembly, Mohammed Sani-Omolori and the National Assembly, were defendants to the suit, which was later withdrawn following public outcry.

 This infamous law suit reminds one of the similar one that was filed by controversial Senator Francis Arthur Nzeribe through his Association for Better Nigeria in 1993 which sought for the annulment of the June 12 election and the continued stay of Ibrahim Babangida in office.

The Nigerian state is different from other countries in the African continent where dictators abound as it has been impossible for a sit tight leader to emerge because of her complex nature and the reality of over two hundred ethnic groups. General Yakubu Gowon tried it in the 1970’s after shifting the handover date but was overthrown shortly after by the late General Murtala Mohammed. IBB tried something similar but was forced to step aside in 1993; Sani Abacha nursed a similar ambition by wanting to transform himself from a military to a civilian leader before his sudden untimely death allegedly in the hands of Indian whores.


Admittedly, Buhari has disappointed the nation especially his teeming fans who had high hopes in his leadership in 2015 but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt on this third term issue that the country will see his back in 2023. Let’s not overheat the polity by this insinuations and let’s hope that he delivers good governance to the beleaguered nation which desperately needs a good dose of it. 

Content created and supplied by: TonyAdemiluyi (via Opera News )

African Leadership Foundation Esau Ken Nnamani Muhammadu Buhari Sai Baba

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