News, Politics

President Buhari Thumbs Nose Third Term

Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari.

In wake of the regional bloc initiative to bar an incumbent from seeking unconstitutional third term, the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, has made it clear that leaders should be limited in how many terms they can run.

“As I approach the end of my second and final four-year term, I am reminded of how much has changed in Nigeria, in Africa, and in the world, and yet how some challenges remain,” Buhari told UN General Assembly in a memorable speech delivered on September 21, 2022.

The Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is exploring ways to introduce bill barring an incumbent from by-passing term limits. Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire and Togo are dragging their feet to endorse the project, raising eyebrows in many quarters.

Likening democracy as an “idea that crosses time and borders,” President Buhari did acknowledge its limitations.

“The wheels of democracy turn slowly. It can demand compromises that dilute decisions,” he added while deploring that “sometimes, it bends too much to special interests that exercise influence, not always for the general good, in a manner disproportionate to their numbers.”

He seized the opportunity to remind the gathering of the leadership role his country continue to play at sub-regional level.

“In Nigeria, not only have we worked to strengthen our democracy, but we have supported it and promoted the rule of law in our sub-region,” he remarked.

In The Gambia, he went on, we helped guarantee the first democratic transition since independence. He then cited the case of Guinea Bissau where the regional super power “stood by the democratically-elected government when it faced mutiny.”

Similar stance was taken by Nigeria, following the sudden death of Chadian President, the late Idriss Début Itno.

“We believe in the sanctity of constitutional term limits and we have steadfastly adhered to it in Nigeria,” he emphasized. “We have seen the corrosive impact on values when leaders elsewhere seek to change the rules to stay on in power.

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