Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar on Tuesday expressed disappointment at the House of Representatives’ rejection of the six-year single term proposal for president and governors in the country.
In a statement issued in Abuja by his Media Adviser, Paul Ibe, Atiku said he was disappointed that the lawmakers had thrown away the proposal at the expense of the larger interest of the country.
He said because of the challenges facing the nation’s democratic system especially the culture of rigging that subverts the will of the people, a six-year single term would have ended such untoward practices in its electoral process.
He said: “The desperation for the second term by the incumbents is the main reason why they go for broke and set the rule book on fire, thereby making free and fair elections impossible by legitimising rigging at the expense of their challengers that have no access to public funds.
“A situation where the incumbents deploy more public resources to their second term projects than using the funds for people’s welfare encourages massive rigging that undermines electoral integrity.
“Six-year single term would remove such desperation and enable the incumbents to concentrate on the job for which they were elected in the first place.”
He regretted that eight-year term of office rewards incompetence because even incumbents that had failed would use their access to public funds to return to power by fair or foul means.
The ex-vice president added: “I don’t agree with the logic that eight years would give elected leaders a better opportunity to fulfill their campaign promises.
“An inherently incompetent incumbent will perform below average even if you give him/her 20 years in office or give him or her $20 billion.”
According to him, it is not how long a man spends in office, but how well he is adequately prepared for the job.
He argued that the desperation for the second term was not necessarily driven by patriotism or the passion for service, but by the obsession with the greed for power for its own sake.
“Second term obsession rewards incompetence by allowing failed incumbents to be re-elected regardless of their performance record.
“It also denies political parties the opportunity to replace failed incumbents with better candidates within the parties in the name of the right of first refusal,” he said.
The former vice president said the rejection of the six-year single term was a mistake because little attention was paid to its merits.
Abubakar said that eight years’ tenure of four years each sacrificed merit because the incumbents were automatically entitled to re-election regardless of their performance records.
He was, however, of the view that current holders of the offices under the proposed constitutional review should not be entitled to a six-year term at the expiration of their second term. (NAN)