TENURE TAMPERING - IT WASN'T ME
She even caught me on camera (It wasn't me)
She saw the marks on my shoulder (It wasn't me)
Heard the words that I told her (It wasn't me)
Heard the scream get louder (It wasn't me)
- Orville Richard Burrell, American-Jamaican reggae singer and rapper, better known as Shaggy, in the 2000 single - It Wasn't Me.
THE best ploys in defence are to stick to your story and more importantly blame others. President Goodluck Jonathan is applying both in his comments on the proposal to hand the president and governors a six-year tenure. There is a sweetener that will sell the proposal - the legislature will also get a modified tenure.
With no details on the proposed tenure for the legislature, that has no limit on number of terms members can do, it may be that this aspect is subject to negotiation. There is something for those who will work on this urgent constitution amendment.
Things are getting ridiculous and indefensible, but like Shaggy, the President believes sticking to his line is important and that will absolve him of responsibility for a decision he considers most appropriate for the country now.
He blames the media, he blames the opposition and finally the blames rest on the recommendations of a 2008 committee former President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua constituted. Why, of all the things that have been recommended to the government since 2008, among them General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma's suggestions on reducing the rising cost of governance, did President Jonathan choose tenure change? How important is this to Nigeria's survival?
Does he have reports on improving infrastructure? Is he aware of reports on improving the standards of education, food security, health, electricity, and safety? Do these reports not deserve urgency?
Former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Muhammadu Uwais headed a committee that recommended far-reaching changes in Nigeria's electoral law for the country's health. 'It is only political, and has nothing with electoral reform. It is not recommendation of our committee,' Uwais said of tenure change. Whose recommendation then is the President following? Is the President maintaining his refrain, 'it wasn't me'?'
He should know that once he makes a decision, he cannot blame anyone else for it. If he thinks constitutional amendment along those lines are important, it is his decision, in the same way he can decide to waste the next four years.
Less than three months into his four-year tenure, he has not proposed a bill to tackle challenges militating against Nigeria's growth. None of his electoral promises is receiving attention. He has no articulated efforts at his transformational agenda. The most important thing is changing the Constitution, not to make governance easier, but to increase the number of years people can hold Nigeria down.
Nigerians are shocked that the President is clueless about the type of reaction the proposed bill is drawing. They are also shocked that the most important thing on the President's agenda is arranging a more prosperous future for politicians who are doing their best to stall the country's progress.
When will the President start accepting responsibility for his actions? Is it too much asking him to admit that he is the President and the buck stops on his desk?
The issue today, whether the President accepts it or not, is that Nigeria requires committed tendering, to return to an appreciable standard for the sustenance of its people. A self-serving constitutional amendment will be a major distraction.