There is no doubt that most Nigerian politicians, especially the professional or career ones, romance second term as if it is a beautiful woman. They hug it and even worship on its knees. They pray and swear with its name. They picture it in their minds and think about it always without ceasing.
Once they win an election, the next plan is to be thinking of a second term. Every of their action is tailored toward the second term ambition. Like some affluent Nigerian farmers who deploy some of their loan facility to marry second wives, Nigerian politicians can do anything to make sure that they get a second term ticket.
For them, it is a must. Our politicians love power to the extent that if it is possible, they can remain in power till the end. For most Nigerian politicians, the second term aroma is so tempting to be resisted. To them, the second term is like a seductive mistress, who cannot be resisted. When Nigerian politicians are not persuaded to run for a second term, they force it on themselves claiming that their people have urged them to contest.
Really, Nigerians, especially those benefiting from the system, can indeed pressure a politician to go for a second term. Whether such a politician has performed or not to merit a second term is immaterial and it does not bother them. African leaders are so obsessed with power so much that some have been involved in tenure elongation drama.
In Nigeria, ex-president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, mooted the idea of a third term but the dream was aborted midway by those who saw it as a looming dictatorship. When the tenure elongation bid was stopped, he went ahead to ensure the installation of those that succeeded him.
Up till now, he remains a major stakeholder in the nation’s political power equation and had been advising seating presidents not go for a second term or face the consequences.
The man, Obj, has become an oracle of sort in predicting the defeat of seating presidents. He did it to former president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, and the rest is now history.
He has done it to President Muhammadu Buhari and we are all watching as 2019 beckons pretty soon. Whether Buhari’s case will be like that of Jonathan or not will be determined by Nigerians in the 2019 elections. Like Jonathan, Buhari has declared his intention to contest the presidential election in 2019 despite the oracular prophecies by former president, Olusegun Obasanjo and a few other notable Nigerians.
President Buhari, who made his intention known to Nigerians before jetting out to London for the Commonwealth heads of governments meeting, cited that pressure from Nigerians hastened his resolve to vie for a second term. Buhari’s declaration has confirmed speculations by some Nigerians that he will seek for a reelection.
Even though Buhari has kept this decision to his chest, his body language and the utterances of his numerous acolytes and praise singers had shown that he would contest. His decision to contest is allowed in the extant 1999 Constitution (as amended). It is indeed his constitutional right. But our constitution did not rule out the Mandela option if a candidate wishes to do so.
Our present case scenario is that our politicians see second term as a must. They see it as part of the package, whether they perform or not. They have brought zoning into it. That is the tragedy of our politics.
If Buhari wins the All Progressives Congress (APC) ticket, which is very likely, he would fly their flag in the 2019 presidential poll just as he did in 2015. Whether he will win or not is a matter of debate. Nigerians, especially those within the voting age, will decide who wins the election among those that will carry their parties’ flags in the poll.
Our politicians’ obsession with second term has led to a decision to a single term of six years but it was abandoned. We can still revisit it to curb the romance with second term and its ills to the polity.
Once a politician thinks of second term, governance is abandoned. Every effort is geared to retain power either by hook or crook.
Our democracy should be tinkered with to reflect our cultural peculiarities. Africans like power. African kings are immortals. They never die. They rule forever and long live the king. This can explain the sit-tight syndrome among African political leaders. Tenure elongation is very common in Africa. But China recently gave Xi Jinping limitless term to continue his good works.
They outlawed term limit for him. He is like a president for life. US President, Donald Trump, jokingly said that America may take a cue from China in having a president for life. I don’t know if Russia will toe such a path. Britain may not contemplate such. What about Germany and France? Only time will tell. So, each country is at liberty to tailor its democracy to suit the needs of her people.
Conducting elections every four years is a huge drain on the economy. Money deployed to election every four years in Nigeria can be used for human capital development that Bill Gates said the other day is absent in this administration. Such money can be used to build roads and bridges or ensure all round security in Nigeria.
Since the quest for a second term bid has become a must for our politicians and always lead to a ‘do or die’ elections, why not we go for an eight-year term and see how it will work out and save us the agony of election every four years. When we get good leaders like Xi Jinping, we may consider outlawing term limits.
But if we want to stick to second term as allowed by the constitution, we must be ready to see it as a reward for hard work and not necessarily a right or a must for every politician.
We should have a system where some politicians, even if pressured to run, will take the Mandela option and do only one term. We may come up with laws to sanitize the legislative arm of government so that they can actually check the excesses of the executive and perform their oversight functions effectively at both state and national levels. The system of local government is not working because the states have hijacked it.
These are some of the issues our politicians should consider as some of them hug second term bid. There is nothing wrong with a second term aspiration if the motive is altruistic and patriotic. At present, only three candidates, Muhammadu Buhari, Atiku Abubakar and Kingsley Muoghalu, have indicated interest to contest the 2019 presidential poll. Where are the rest?