The House of Representatives has rejected a bill seeking to provide for a single-term of six years for the president, governors, members of the National Assembly and state houses of assembly.
The bill was sponsored by Rep. John Dyegh (APC-Benue) and presented for the Second Reading during plenary presided over by the Deputy Speaker of the house Mr Idris Wase on Tuesday.
The bill is entitled “A Bill for an Act to Alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to Provide for a Single Term of Six Years for the President, Governors, Members of the National Assembly and States Houses of Assembly”.
Presenting the bill before the house, Dyegh said the bill did not seek to add to the tenure of the 9th Assembly but sought to provide “experience” for the legislative in the future.
“We are losing 200 members, over two-thirds of the members. For the executive and judiciary, it is not the same thing.
“A magistrate can rise through the ranks and make reference to 20 years of experience,” he said.
Most of the lawmakers debated against the bill, saying that there is nothing wrong with the system Nigeria currently operated.
Rep. Yusuf Gagdi (APC-Plateau) said there was nothing wrong with the current system of four-year tenure with a limit of two tenures for the Executive.
“In an ideal democracy, you cannot ask the president to perform a six-year tenure and expect a good performance.
“Our problem is our inability to respect our rules. What it needs it to maintain what is in place for the executive and National Assembly.
“What we need is to improve our elections and ensure we have a system that will not fail Nigerians,” he said.
Rep. Haruna Bello (APC-Kano), also debating against the bill, said it would fuel the “speculation of tenure extension for President Muhammadu Buhari”.
According to him, there is a speculation for tenure extension for the president. Bringing this motion now will make our adversaries think this is an attempt to achieve that.
He also explained that the four-year term should be maintained to give room to “appraisal of someone’s term after four years.
“By the time you allow the room for six years, you will shut down the door such appraisal. We should maintain our four years.”
Few lawmakers, however, said it would save the country the funds used to conduct elections after the initial four-year tenure.
Rep. Sergius Ogun (PDP-Edo) said that “this bill intends to also save the money being spent in elections for second term. It will save this country and our democracy.”
Also, Rep. Henry Archibong (PDP-Akwa Ibom) said that the focus of the bill should be on improving Nigeria’s electoral process and not on the number of terms elected officials stay in office.
“How can we make electoral processes and elections credible and less expensive? This is the issue we ought to address and not the number of terms,” he said.
The bill was subsequently voted against when the deputy speaker put it up for vote for second reading.