6-YEAR SINGLE TERM: NOTHING SACROSANCT ABOUT 4-YEAR TENURE - ANENIH
Former minister of women affairs, Iyom Josephine Anenih, has advised those squealing against the six-year single term proposal to ponder and consider the good side of the proposal.
The former women affairs minister cautioned that acting in haste as Nigerians were currently doing could amount to throwing away the baby with the bath water.
In a statement issued yesterday in Abuja, she explained that there was no cause for alarm concerning the proposal by President Goodluck Jonathan.
'We should all start thinking through the proposal to know whether that is what we want so that we will know what to answer when the question is put (on the floor of the National Assembly).
'I know that the idea of single term is not original to President Goodluck Jonathan. The suggestion was mooted in the past but was overtaken by events. You don't always have to start from scratch or re-invent the wheel in a bid to deliver sustainable development.
'For a president who is thinking transformation, I believe it is a natural thing for him to consider every possible means of turning things around for the better for us.
'The number- '4' -holds no special democratic significance; it was chosen by men and women and can similarly be changed by men and women.'
Mrs. Anenih in her statement, however, shared the fears of those averse to the proposal as she noted that it could be abused by despots who pretend to be democrats.
'I understand the reasons given by the president but I am also not blind to the abuses the proposed system can introduce. What if a state is unlucky enough to 'elect' a despot or a thief? It will mean they will be saddled with that bad leader for six years.
'The president has told Nigerians that he was thinking of how to reduce campaign and election expenses in terms of material and human resources expenditure.'
'He was also concerned that elected officials spend the whole length of their tenure and public resources preparing for the next round of elections to actualise their second coming.'
The statement by the former Minister of Women Affairs further expressed confidence that the national assembly would see reason in the proposal, when it is eventually tabled before it.
'Thank God for democracy. Democracy has its tenets which include consultations, dialogue and consensus building, and maybe most importantly the majority vote.
'That is why the President cannot do anything no matter how laudable, without consulting his political party rank and file and without passing through the National Assembly.
'The National Assembly represents all Nigerians. When the National Assembly speaks, Nigerians have spoken because they represent every Nigerian and they do not take serious decisions without consulting the people they represent.
'All the President does is (to) provide direction; it is the National Assembly that ultimately decides if we walk down the path. 'Partisan politics should be set aside; to check the abuse of the single tenure system if it is adopted, I would also recommend that INEC be strengthened even further to ensure that the electoral process becomes even more free and fair, and as a consequence produces good, credible leaders.
.'To those who posit that it is too early to start this discussion because we have more serious issues besetting the nation, I would ask them to also think about what could be the root cause of most of our problems now. I believe the President is looking at ways to tackle the causes of our problems, and not just the symptoms.
'Moving forward, I want to enjoin everyone to embrace the idea and culture of debate. We should be able to robustly discuss any issue without the threat of violence or even national disintegration hanging over our heads'.