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Nigeria Deputy Senate President recommend a single term for political officer holders

Nigeria’s Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu has put forth a proposal that Governors and Presidents should spend just a single term of six years in office. He made this submission given the tense political climate in Nigeria and the incumbency advantage that makes current political office holders want to cling to power at all cost.

Mr Ekweremadu made this known in a series of tweets, “Unable to resist the temptations that come with the enormous power of incumbency, those who call the shots today, throw everything within their reach into the mix in desperate efforts to retain power at all cost and by all means. The feverish political climate in the country today, once again, justifies the call by some of us for a single term of five or six years for the President and Governors.

The Deputy Senate President stressed the need for the nation to make necessary constitutional adjustments to safeguard the democracy and make periods leading up to the elections less toxic. Making reference to other democracies, he said, “For over 150 years, starting from George Washington up to Harry Truman, there was no term limit for Presidents of the United States of America. In fact, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) served four terms (although he died just 11 weeks into his fourth term). It was the 22nd Amendment, which was ratified on February 27, 1951, that gave birth to the two-term limit for US Presidents.”

OFFSHOOT: Of note is the fact that this single term bill was proposed in Nigeria’s 7th legislative assembly (2011 – 2015) but it didn’t scale because of sectional, tribal and political interests during the constitutional amendment programme.

He also talked about how Latin America went through this same phase. “But as many of them transited from military and autocratic regimes to democratic regimes, they discovered that the politics of succession, including incumbents’ penchant for self-perpetuation, overheated their polities and threatened their democracies which eventually led them to adopt the single term Presidency “until such a time their respective democracies matured and stabilised. Although virtually all of them have reverted to a two-term Presidency, Mexico still practices single term Presidency, called Sexino.”

“I strongly believe a single term of five or six years for President and Governors, even if for a stipulated period as was the case with several Latin American democracies, is something Nigerians should revisit after the 2019 general elections. This will substantially reduce the political tensions and executive excesses that come with self-succession.”


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