By Tony Edike
ENUGU – CONFERENCE of Nigerian Political Parties, CNPP, Wednesday, rejected President Goodluck Jonathan’s proposal for a single term of six years for the president and governors, describing it as an attempt by the president to elongate his tenure through the back door.
Conversely, the National Chairman of Progressive Peoples Alliance, PPA, Chief Sam Nkire applauded the president’s proposal saying it would reduce political tension in the country and give every geopolitical zone a sense of belonging.
National Publicity Secretary of the organization, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, said the move, which should be strongly condemned, was also intended to divert the attention of Nigerians from the series of looting of public treasuries going on in the country.
“We cannot remember when President Jonathan canvassed tenure elongation during his presidential campaign and cannot locate how the extension of tenure will improve the welfare or security of Nigeria which today is groaning under the yoke of functioning anarchy.” he stated.
According to the CNPP spokesman, it is highly regrettable and a pity that the president decided to move for the elongation of his tenure rather than submit an Executive Bill that would alter the Constitution from unitary system of government to true federalism.
He said: “If President Jonathan is truly committed to free and fair election he could have submitted an Executive Bill which will incorporate the core recommendations of the Uwais Electoral Reform Committee Report in the Constitution; rather a tepid attempt to extend his tenure.
“The Bill to elongate the tenure of the office of the president and governors from all indication is not only in bad faith, inconsequential, diversionary; but has exposed the perfidy of the Jonathan regime.”
Okechukwu stated that the CNPP was of the candid view that seven to ten years tenure cannot prevent “Food-is-Ready politicians from Do-or-Die political culture, rigging the elections and foisting surrogates on the electorate”, stressing that unless the Constitution was amended to allow for the core recommendations of the Uwais Electoral Reform Committee, the move to tackle the nation’s political problems would remain a mirage.
On his part, the PPA National Chairman, Chief Nkire applauded the proposal for a single tenure describing it as a practical step towards solving the nation’s political crisis.
Nkire, who had been an advocate of zoning of political offices, noted that zoning had become a way of life in Nigeria as every zone in the country is desirous to have its share of the high office in the land.
He said: “Peoples can say what they like but zoning has become a way of life in Nigeria and anyone who says otherwise is not being realistic. I have been a strong advocate of single six-year term for the president and governors. Every Igboman would want to see an Igboman become President of Nigeria one day for instance; so also with Hausas and the Yorubas.