According to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, no sitting president may seek a third term in office. The last time a sitting president (President Obasanjo) attempted to run for presidency after eight years in leadership, a move to amend the constitution to allow a third term was trumped at the Senate.
The constitution specifically sets a clear limit of two consecutive terms for the President and State Governors, and under no circumstances should the constitution be disregarded. Even though this has always been known, information about the constitutional provisions for re-election by a sitting president or state governor have been emphasized in recent times, in light of current happenings in Aso Rock. Recent crises in the ruling party, APC, and a purported rift between the president and the vice-president – in which the president refused to hand over power to him before going on a medical vacation – sparked rumours of his unwillingness to let go of power even when required by law.
According to unconfirmed reports, some parties floated a notion that President Muhammadu Buhari was inclined to seek a third term in office; perhaps, via a constitutional amendment. The basis of this assumption was not far-fetched. One; it implied that, the president was not done with his projects and plans for Nigeria, and secondly, that there was no better candidate who was schooled in Nigerian history and governance than the current president. The first assumption holds an element of truth, for which the President can be forgiven. Former President Goodluck Jonathan once stated that “a single four-year term is not sufficient for any president to make significant changes”. Now, does President Buhari have plans for the country that span more than a single term? During the 2015 elections, his campaign slogan was ‘CHANGE’. He promised to deliver positive change to Nigerians and help lift them from economic hardship and infrastructural decay. For the 2019 general elections where he won re-election, the slogan was ‘NEXT LEVEL’. However, since his administration started in 2015, majority of Nigerians are yet to see the ‘change’, not to even consider the so-called ‘next level’. Thus, if ‘change’ is taking so long to materialise, perhaps, they may require more time to deliver. More time would mean a third term, perhaps tagged ‘CONSOLIDATION’…
Or at least something similar.
Well, in an swift response to the developments, the office of the presidency recently released a report to dispel the news of the president’s intention to run for a third term in office. The president himself commented at a recent NEC meeting of the APC:
“…I am not going to make a mistake. I am not going to contest for third term because I will go by the Constitution.”
This has helped to quell the wave of agitation that was gradually gaining momentum across the nation.