SIX-YEAR SINGLE TENURE NOT DEAD -PRESIDENCY
The Presidency said at the weekend that it has not jettisoned the proposed six-year single term for the President and governors. It said the plan is still at the level of ideas.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Rueben Abati had on July 18, 2011 said in a statement that President Goodluck Jonathan would present a bill for the single term to the National Assembly. The plan received several knocks and a few kudos.
Daily Sun had exclusively reported on August 8, 2011 that the National Assembly had advised President Goodluck Jonathan to drop the idea. A source in the federal legislature had said that the bill in the proposed constitution amendment should have emanated from the federal lawmakers and not as an executive bill. Besides, the source argued that the plan was not budgeted for in the 2011 budget.
Abati reportedly said that even though the plan would take off in 2015, the President and his deputy, Namadi Sambo, would not benefit from it. However, critics of the proposal said that it was an attempt by President Jonathan at tenure elongation. They argued that the President could sponsor a bill to review the constitution to enable him and his deputy become beneficiaries. To these, Jonathan insisted that he wouldn't be a partaker.
But yesterday, Dr. Abati while addressing State House Correspondents, dismissed media report that the President may have dropped the proposal following public reactions. He said the debate in support or against the proposed bill was healthy for the country's democracy. 'It is still at the level of ideas, how do you withdraw something that hasn't been submitted. If you check the debate out there you will see that there are a lot of people supporting the President, but with some of them saying the time is not right. It is not on record anywhere that the President said the proposal has been jettisoned' he said.
On Boko Haram, Abati said the report which would be submitted tomorrow, (August 16) to the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, (SGF) will be taken very seriously by the President.
'The Boko Haram report is to be submitted shortly and the President will react to it, because security is what the President takes very seriously', adding that it is not all that is included in the report that will be discussed publicly because it is a security issue and may bridge investigations.
He said given the calibre of persons on the Boko Haram Committee and the efforts put in place by government, such report when received, would not be swept under the carpet.'Security in any part of Nigeria, the President takes it serious, this is one report that will not be swept under the carpet. Some of the issues there will not be made public in order not to give those behind it (Boko Haram) undue advantage.'
The President's spokesman said Jonathan not visiting Maidugiri since the escalation of the crisis, does not amount to his being insensitive. So far, he has shown enough concern as reflected by the kind of attention given to the situation, he said, Abati also said the President is not far removed from the people, 'he is the President, who has the common touch. Don't forget in terms of his background, he is one of those we can relate to. The secret of his success is that he is not far removed from the people'.
He reiterated the President's position on issues of accountability, transparency and openness in governance, adding that no government functionary would be protected from the law if found wanting.
'The President has the reputation of not interfering with agencies' processes of handling corruption cases.' But reacting to the single term yesterday, President, Christ Apostolic Church, Worldwide, Pastor Elijah Olusheye told politicians to first of all purge themselves of insincerity for any provision on tenure extension to work.
Speaking with journalists after dedicating the ultra-modern C A C National Sunday School building at Ireakari, Akure, Ondo State,weekend, Pastor Olusheye said for any constitutional provision to work, politicians who would operate it must change their attitude of selfishness, greed and wanton corruption to embrace selfless service and probity.
According to him, if the politicians are sincere with two-terms it would work, if they are sincere even with three years term, it would work, but insincerity is the bane of politics in Nigeria. He said: 'If politicians who will operate the Constitution are sincere and are ready to serve the people in honesty, even three years tenure is enough. But if they are insincere, no matter the length of the tenure, it would not work. It is not how long a tenure is that matters, but how well the politicians are ready to use it for the betterment of the people'.
On the menace of Boko Haram, Pastor Olusheye said it was allowed by God so that Christians would wake up from their slumber. He said if Christians rise up in Holy and righteous living and pray to God, such menace would not be heard of again. Earlier, while preaching at the dedication service of the new Sunday School building, Pastor Olusheye commended every one involved in the project and prayed that the Lord would strengthen them for greater glory in their private lives and in their Christian journey.
He recalled that the Sunday School Department of Christ Apostolic Church, worldwide, which has now grown in stature to the extent that it now serves other denominations, is a testimony that whatever God has pronounced, would be established.