JONATHAN, BARAJE, UME-EZEOKE DECIDED 6-YEAR SINGLE TERM

By NBF News
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Fresh facts have emerged on how coalition of political parties, under the aegis of  inter-party committee settled for six-year single term tenure.

Speaking on Thursday at the PDP NEC meeting in Abuja, President Goodluck Jonathan had told a gathering of PDP faithful  that the initiative of six-year single term was not his original idea.

He also revealed that an inter-party committee set up by the late President Umar Yar'Adua had sent a memo to the Justice Muhammadu  Uwais Committee on Electoral Review, as its own contribution to the committee's efforts to find lasting solution to the crisis of confidence that trailed elections.

A PDP source, who was privy to the report of the committee, told Saturday Sun  that  members of PDP, All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) were involved in the  29-member committee

The  source further disclosed that the recommendation could not be pushed through because of the ill-health of the late  President Yar'Adua.

Said the source: 'The late Yar'Adua actually set up four committees to review the nation's electoral system. They are  committees of traditional rulers, governors, law enforcement and inter-party, all with a view to analysing the trends in the nation's electoral system.

'The late President Yar'Adua  actually established the inter-party committee as a fallout of the  interactive session on electoral processes, which he convened with  governors, National Assembly, the political parties and the security agencies on January 16, 2008.

'Leading political parties - PDP, ANPP), APGA and the Action Congress (AC) were invited to nominates even members each. In his invitation to the parties, His Excellency the vice president (Jonathan then) advised that the seven nominees of each of the leading parties should include the national chairman and one member from each of the six geo-political zones.'

According to findings, those who served in the 29-member board include Jonathan, Chief Edwin Ume-Ezeoke (then chairman of ANPP), Senator Mohammed Aruwa (ANPP, North West), Chief Kunle Ogunade (ANPP South West), Chief Ugo Sam Okpara (ANPP, South East), Khaleel Bolaji (ANPP, North Central), Senator A.A. Ibrahim (ANP, North East) and Mr. J. Okongor (ANPP, South South).

Those who represented APGA include Chief Chekwas Okorie, Abdullahi Mohammed, Barrister Abubakar Galadima, Barrister Bello Umar, Prince ANC Akanegbu, Chief Benji Duru and Benson Agada.

Former Chairman of the PDP, Dr. Ahmadu Ali led the PDP delegation, but he was later replaced by  Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, when the latter assumed office. The new PDP team also included Dr. Danladi Sankara and Alhaji Abubakar Baraje, Senator Paul Wampana, Senator Yinka Omilani, Dr. Bello Mohammed, Abubakar Magaji, Nze Fidelis Ochichukwu, and Chief G.U. Ake.

Other members of the committee Chief Clement Ebri, Chief Emma Omokwe, Hajiya Mariam Ibrahim Baba, Baba Adi, Chief Samson Akiga, Chief Mrs. Remi Adiuku- Bakare and AVM Anthony Okpere (retd).

The Jonathan committee,  in its report submitted in May 2008, identified 24 key factors militating against credible elections in Nigeria, to  include incumbency factor,  imposition of candidates, godfatherism, thuggery, partisan  security agencies as well as the role of state electoral bodies among others.

The committee recommended  the adoption of a seven-year single tenure for the president, six-year single tenure for governors and three-year tenure for local government chairmen, independent electoral body, among the nine recommendations it submitted to government.