By Kenneth Onwordi, the Federal Information Centre, Benin
The proposed single six-year term for the office of the President and his Vice and Governors, and deputy Governors is actually a welcome development. The amendment once made to see the light of the day, will tackle so many lapses we face in our country's polity.
Cost of election in Nigeria is running into hundreds of billions of Naira; the six-year single term will help channel the fund to development projects for the overall benefit of the nation. The reckless expenditure by incumbents in power, using State resources for their re-election bids, which ought not to be so, will then become a thing of the past.
A single term of six years will make parties sit up with more appealing agenda for the masses. Under-performing incumbents will face the wrath of their parties, judging that the failure of an incumbent is the total failure of the party in the coming polls.
Election and people's votes will then start counting like in a real democratic set up. Parties will have no option than to work for the overall development and implementation of their parties' manifesto to be made relevant in coming polls.
The electorate will not vote for a party that did not deliver previously, irrespective of the candidate they are presenting; second chance opportunity are just too slim considering the lengthy period of term. A single term of six years then becomes a compelling necessity in checking the issue of manipulation of election in our country.
However, there are dangers against the proposal seeing the light of the day sooner than 2019, judging from the fact that 18 first term Governors and Mr. President are gunning for a second term. Sub-section 137 of the proposed amendment reads: "A person holding the office of the president or vice president, governors or deputy governor immediately before the coming into force of the alteration of section 135 and 136b of the Constitution shall not be eligible to contest election for a single term of six years."
The Senate Committee on constitution amendment basically urged the President, his Vice, Governors and their Deputies to make sacrifices in the interest of the country, to support the amendment.
However, if they still insist on running for a second term, then the commencement can be deferred till 2019; by then all incumbents must have finished their tenure. The bill needs the approval of 2/3 of National Assembly and the Assemblies of 24 States for it to become law in Nigeria.
All hands should be on deck to move the country forward and enhance our democratic pursuit for developmental polity by making the bill see the light of the day.