Single Tenure, ETC: A Miscued Legislative Noise

Single Tenure, ETC: A Miscued Legislative Noise

By Onwuasoanya FCC Jones

You cannot afford to deny the fact that Hon. Ugochinyere Ikeagwuonu, the member representing me and my fellow good people of Ideato nation is an adventurous and highly driven power player, who knows how to draw attention to himself.

He is a man who would do very well as a media strategist and publicist, even as he is doing very well as a politician. You have to give the man we like to call Ikenga, his flowers where he deserves it.

Over the past one year as a legislator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, my dear brother and friend, Ugochinyere has not failed to seize every opportunity to grab the attention and even affection of the suffering masses to himself. It does not matter if he is exploiting their plight to advance his politics or indirectly taunting them for their misfortune of placing capitalists and Shylocks in positions of authority, rather than humanists and democrats.

I do hope to have the time to expatiate on this in the nearest future, for this time, let us discuss what my beloved brother, and his band of legislative attention seekers and jesters, called a blueprint, for Nigeria’s transformation.

True to his reputation and in sync with his character, the Chairman of the House Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) has squandered multiple millions of Naira in buying up slots across media houses in Nigeria, for the mere purpose of presenting a bill, that I can assure you, isn’t worth the ink expended in writing it, or the time devoted to copying it from severally discarded congressional outings.

This bill, and what it seeks to achieve can only be achieved through a Constitutional review, and I expect the individuals involved in the circus show to know. Apparently, they know, but cannot afford to miss the chance of entertaining Nigerians with a flamboyance that only goes to advertise their emptiness. But let us assume that these proposals are possible through normal legislative sessions, let us now dissect its relevance to Nigeria, especially at this time.

Let me remind us that the most imperative problem that should concern any Nigerian leader, especially, a legislator, is on how to ameliorate the current economic hardship ravaging Nigerians, by prevailing on the executive arm of government to put in place, policies that ensures that Nigerians do not continue to go to bed hungry.

 A responsible legislator, or let me borrow the alias, the Ugochinyere group gave to themselves, a pro-reform, group of lawmakers, would rather show that they are genuinely empathetic to the plight of the people by using this time and resources to fight for better living conditions for Nigerians.

Of course, the proposal of single tenure of six years for the President and governors, conducting all elections in one day, mandatory e-transmission of election results and dispensing all pre and post election litigations before swearing of elected officers are completely irrelevant to either reforming Nigeria or giving ordinary Nigerians better stake in our democracy. Let me break it down for better understanding;

  1. SINGLE TENURE OF SIX YEARS: There is not even one of all the world’s most prosperous nations that puts such limit on the tenure of its President. In fact, except for the United States of America, all other powerful and economically prosperous nations in the world, do not put tenure limits for their Presidents and governors, and even in the United States, governors of the different States do not have limits to the number of times they can be reelected to office.

Allowing people who are in office to present themselves for reelection, at least, once, would provide the people an opportunity to give a verdict on their performance in office. A single tenure would encourage corrupt and irresponsible leaders to act anyway they like, since they are not to be queried by the people through any other election.

This is like a one way ticket to Utopia. Rather than this, a bill to ensure a total reform of our electoral process, starting from the independence of the electoral umpire and a more accountable process in the recruitment of INEC officials and staff would be more appropriate, as it would give the people more powers to dismiss underperforming governors and a President. Single tenure encourages despotism, incompetence and abuse of all sorts.

  • MANDATORY E-TRANSMISSION OF ELECTION RESULTS: As wonderful as this sounds, it is actually unnecessary and could be a major recipe for crisis in Nigeria. E-transmission of election results does not guarantee a free and fair election. As technologically advanced as the United States and other countries, there are still hitches with its electronic transmission systems, and there have been credible instances of manipulation of the system by unscrupulous politicians.

Of course, we all know that some politicians were accused of recruiting tech professionals to help them hack into the INEC system when it was assumed that INEC was going to adopt e-transmission of results across all of its elections.

 Also, given Nigeria’s poor technology infrastructure and professionals, a mandatory e-transmission of election results could result in a major crisis, as failure for results to upload (which is a high possibility) could run the entire transition process into a hitch, and this could lead to a major Constitutional crisis.

  • CONCLUSION OF ELECTION LITIGATIONS BEFORE SWEARING IN: This sounds melodic to the ears, especially, to those who haven’t put enough time into tinkering with ideas in their head for a long time in order to be able to understand the long term implications.

 As I write, issues arising from the 2020 American elections are still in court, while Joe Biden is on cusp of completing his first tenure. As a lawyer, Hon. Ikeagwuonu should have known that it is better for justice to take a long route in arriving than for injustice to be served quickly.

 Judicial processes are long drawn and demands thoroughness. Rushing through it may bring serious problems and opens more chances for justice to be miscarried. Rather than this, the bill should seek to demand a complete refund of all salaries, allowances and other estacodes that might have been received by someone, if they are removed by the court, at any time.

  • ECONOMIC REFORMS: Proposing economic reforms, without pinpointing the type of reforms they should be, exposes the sponsors of this bill as incompetent, ill-informed and unsuitable for legislative assignment. Economic reforms are always ongoing. Every administration embarks on reforms or a continuation of earlier reforms by their predecessors.

 Economic reforms can also be counterproductive, when it is not well thought out. Apparently, the individuals who sponsored this bill are not aware that many failed countries of the world failed because of economic reforms embarked upon by a particular or successive leaders. For instance, North Korea has continued to undergo economic reforms since the 1950s, just like their next door neighbour, South Korea. But we can see clearly that the outcomes of these reforms vary.

 A serious legislature should rather recommend economic restructuring, which puts some sacrosanct structures in place for our national economy, rather than talking about some undefined reforms.

I do not have any doubts that this piece of trash called a bill will end up in the trash can of the Green Chambers, as it is rather an advertisement of legislative braggadocio and loud incompetence, that no legislature worth its name should have allowed to appear on its order paper, in the first place.


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