By Abdulwahab Abdulah
The proposed six-year single term for the President and Governors received a knock, yesterday, as civil society organisations described the idea as unfortunate and anti-democratic. They said it portends danger for accountability and the fight against corruption in the country.
Rising from a stakeholders forum on State of Corruption in Nigeria, organised by HEDA Resource Centre; Committee for the Defense of Human Rights, CDHR; Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre, WARDC; Partnership for Justice, PJ; Citizens Assistant Centre, CAC; and Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, the group noted that the President’s proposal indicated that it was high time Nigerians convened a Sovereign National Conference, SNC, or a wholesome review of the 1999 Constitution.
In a communique by Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju and Mrs Itoro Eze-Anaba, the stakeholders argued that only Nigerians have the legitimacy to decide how they can be governed.
Describing the present composition of the executive arm of government, especially at the federal level and in some states, as over-blotted, the groups noted that the move was another way of encouraging corruption and wastage.
They called for an immediate review and pruning down of the cabinet at all levels of government.
Calling on the media to rise above subtle ‘victimisation from politicians’, they said the fight against corruption can no longer be left in the hands of governments and anti-corruption agencies alone, arguing, “they have demonstrated lack of commitment to the fight against corruption as evident in the recent handling of serious allegations bordering on corruption and abuse of office by individuals generally perceived to have the ears of the president.”
They also called for the removal of the immunity clause which, they said: “Shields serving president, vice-president, governors and their deputies from legitimate prosecution for allege corrupt practices and criminal looting of public resource.”