No intelligent or responsible Nigerian leader will openly admit that he intends to elongate his tenure. It is only the naive or simple-minded ones that will betray such motive, while the more intelligent ones may adopt some cunning or subtle means in doing that.
Shortly after the end of the Nigerian civil war, Nigeria’s Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, announced that he would hand over to a civilian administration in 1976. But in 1974, Gowon made a volte face, saying that the 1976 hand over date was no longer realistic, because according to him, Nigerians had “learnt nothing and forgotten nothing”. This infruiated his colleagues in the military. The next year, they removed him.
Similarly, when asked about the administration’s political transition programme after spending one year in office, General Muhammadu Buhari’s Second in Command as Military Head of State, Tunde Idiagbon, replied that the regime had no such programme. A little while thereafter, the regime was overthrown.
General Ibrahim Babangida was a master dribbler. For eight years he kept Nigerians busy as he navigated his long-winding political transition programme from one end to the other.
First, Babangida asked Nigerians to begin to debate whether or not Nigeria should take the IMF loan. Later, he engaged them in another jaw jaw over the type of government they would like to have in Nigeria, when he set up the Political Bureau.
Babaginda banned and unbanned old politicians, created two political parties – “a little to the right and a little to the left”, designed Option A4 voting arrangement, created states two times, etc. Before you know it, the man had clocked eight years in office!
General Sani Abacha did not come out to tell anybody that he would want to elongate his tenure, or that he would transmute into a civilian President. Rather, he used Daniel Kanu with his “Youths Earnestly Ask for Abacha” programme and his “One Million Man March” campaign to do that, to make all the five political parties created by Abacha to adopt him as their sole Presidential candidate.
Nigerians had expected President Olusegun Obasanjo to play a Mandela role, that is, to serve only one tenure and retire. But Obasanjo would not. Instead, not only that he served second term, he also used his proxies to attempt to have the Constitution altered to enable him run for a third term in office.
Thus, Nigerians were not surprised when it was rumoured that President Muhammadu Buhari may be having a third term agenda, as indicated by the statement credited to the to8.uAPC adopted Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, who stated that he wouldn’t mind “constitutional amendment that would allow for unlimited term in office for President, if President Buhari wishes to remain in office beyond 2023”.
In other words, what Ahmed Lawan may be telling us is that he was most disposed to altering the Nigerian Constitution that would enable President Muhammadu Buhari to become life President of Nigeria!
Though a spokesman for the Senator had denied the statement, insisting that it was fake news, but we can only take politicians’ denials with a pinch of salt, since they may be saying one thing, but doing a diffefent thing.
President Buhari and his APC may have over one thousand and one reasons why the Constitution of Nigeria may be altered to enable Buhari to elongate his tenure or to become life President.
In the first place, the problem the APC met on ground when they came to power in 2015 was so enormous that it could not be solved in only four or even eight years. So additional more years would definitely be needed to deal with it.
In any case, if it took PDP 16 years to destroy Nigeria, it may require more additional years for the APC to rebuild the country, considering the fact that it is more difficult to rebuild than to destroy.
Little wonder therefore why the APC is insisting that Ahmed Lawan is the only one capable of leading the 9th National Assembly, since they see in him a willing tool to do their bidding of altering the Constitution to enable Buhari become the life President of Nigeria.
The APC knows that Buhari is the only life wire of the party, and that without him the party is as good as dead. That’s why they want him to become life President.
Whether they are going to succeed, only time will tell.