GROUP EXPRESSES SHOCK OVER SINGLE TENURE
A New York-based pro-democracy group, the Nigeria Democratic Liberty Forum (NDLF) yesterday expressed shock over proposed single tenure bill that President Goodluck Jonathan announced last week.
In a statement on the proposal, the NDLF, which hosts the Nigeria Peoples Parliament in the US said it received the news 'with consternation,' calling it 'a tenure elongation gimmick of President Jonathan.'
Taking on the president on his justification for the proposal, the US-based group said it was needless to state 'that the temptation to elongate tenure has been a recurring decimal in the annals of mis-governance in Nigeria but strikingly the failure of those who embarked on this treacherous route to learn from history is exasperating.'
According to NDLF, 'notwithstanding the claim that this elongation would not include current office holders, we are aware of the huge state resources that were deployed to ensure the emergence of President Jonathan as his party's flag bearer in the primaries despite his party's zoning arrangement and at the general election.'
The statement signed by Mr. Bukola Oreofe, the executive director of the group, added that without doubt, the dominance of members of the president's political party in the National Assembly and as state governors 'would guarantee an easy manipulation of the process in his favour.'
Continuing, the group stated that 'the implausible argument of a tenure elongation as a remedy to address the cost of elections and the attendant tension during election period is ludicrous.'
It said the idea only exposes 'a poor rationalization to deceive the people.'
On the other hand, the pro-democracy forum stated that the need to seek reelection after four years as it is right now allows the people to assess the performance of Nigerian public office holders and determine if they merit such positions or there is a need for a change.
'Workers undergo periodic evaluations at work so why not our elected officials?' the US group queried, adding that to deprive the people the power to evaluate elected officials by locking them into a straight jacket seven-year term 'is counter-productive and would lead to lack luster attitude in governance by the office holders.'
The NDLF, therefore, advised President Goodluck Jonathan to resist going through with the proposed bill because, in the group's opinion, such a 'path would certainly lead him to ignominy.'
The statement came with a warning that 'if President Goodluck Jonathan goes ahead with his attempt to put the country into turmoil through this elongation scheme, the NDLF would embark on a number of activities in the US and in conjunction with individuals and groups in Nigeria to stop this move and call the attention of the world to an opportunistic president who is poised to bring down the country for his selfish end.'
The group advised the president not to stretch his good luck too far since his job was already cut out for him.
Rather than pursue the proposed bill, the NDLF suggested that the president should roll-up his sleeves and outline an effective blue print to tackle the myriads of problems confronting the country, bothered that for the president to propose 'a tenure elongation bill barely two months since he was sworn in, indicates a lack of agenda and lack of purposeful leadership at this crucial time for our dear country.'