Like some other presidents, and heads of state before him, President Muhammadu Buhari is being urged by some Nigerians to continue in power, despite what the constitution says.
Groups and individuals have come up with all manner of reasons why Buhari should remain president, beyond the constitutionally stipulated period, which has raised posers as to the intention of the campaigners, and Buhari supporters.
Going by the modus operandi of Nigerian politicians, many are worried that the third term bid may be a plot in the making, while others feel it’ll fizzle out soon.
Although the president himself had stated that he would not make the mistake of attempting a third term in office, his supporters are moving to ensure that he gets another term.
One of such people, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Charles Enya, has gone to court to seek the amendment of the constitution to enable President Buhari run for a third term in office.
Enya, a member of the governing APC from Ebonyi State, filed the suit (FHC/AI/CS/90/19) before a Federal High Court in Abakiliki.
The APC chieftain, who was the organising secretary to Buhari during the 2019 general election, also wants governors to be allowed to run for third term.
He is praying that Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami and the National Assembly should remove constitutional clauses hindering elected presidents and state governors from seeking a third term in office.
Defendants in the suit are Malami, the clerk of the National Assembly, Mohammed Sani-Omolori, and the National Assembly.
“A person shall not be qualified for election to the office of President if he has been elected to such office at any two previous elections,” says Section 137 (1)(b) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
In section 182 (1)(b), the constitution also states that “no person shall be qualified for election to the office of governor of a state if he has been elected to such office at any two previous elections”.
However, the APC chieftain argued in his suit, “That section 137(1)(b) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,1999 (as amended) restricting the President to only two terms of four years each, is inoperative by virtue of its discriminatory nature in relation to the executive and legislative branches of government in Nigeria, and therefore null and void and thus inapplicable”.
He, therefore, wants an “order of the court nullifying and setting aside section 137(1)(b) and 182(1) (b) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended). And directing the first and second defendants to delete and expunge sections 137(1)(b) and 182(1)(b) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (as amended).”
Reacting, The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) asked Buhari to order the arrest and prosecution of Mr Enya for filing the suit.
National Coordinator of HURIWA Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Zainab Yusuf, in a statement on Monday, said the suit was not only vexatious, provocative and satanic but also capable of inflaming passions and bringing about cocktails of civil unrests.
According to them, “What this political jobber intends to achieve by filing this illegal application to introduce tenure elongation is to inflict civil political unrest on a bloody scale on Nigeria and this is treason”.
While advising the Federal High Court to “never entertain such a treasonous litigation which in itself is an illegality”, HURIWA also said it would be the greatest act of disservice to Nigeria should Buhari administration fail to take action on the matter.