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Reps Group Proposes Six-Year Single Term for President, Governors, and Sweeping Electoral Reforms

June 10, 2024

A group of lawmakers in the House of Representatives, known as the Reform Minded Legislators, unveiled a series of proposed amendments to the 1999 Constitution on Monday, aimed at improving governance in Nigeria. The group, led by Ikenga Ugochinyere, who represents the Ideato Federal Constituency, presented these reforms as part of political and electoral reform bills now advancing to their second reading.

The centerpiece of their proposals is the introduction of a six-year single tenure for the President and the 36 state governors. The lawmakers argue that this change would reduce the cost of governance and election campaigns, promote unity, ensure seamless transitions, continuity in governance, and uninterrupted development. They believe it would also foster justice and equity, enhance the independence of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), ensure the efficient use of state resources, and combat nepotism, state capture, and corruption within electoral processes.

Key among the proposals is the creation of two Vice Presidential offices, with one Vice President from the Southern region and the other from the Northern region. The First Vice President, referred to as the Succession VP, would be poised to assume the presidency if the incumbent President becomes incapacitated. The Second Vice President would serve as a minister in charge of economic affairs, with both Vice Presidents holding ministerial roles.

The Reform Minded Legislators have also proposed an amendment to the Electoral Act of 2022 to mandate that all governorship elections be held on the same day. This measure aims to streamline the electoral process and reduce election-related disruptions across the country.

Another significant proposal includes a constitutional amendment to rotate executive powers among Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones. This initiative is designed to ensure equal representation and mitigate the fervent calls for the creation of new states, thus fostering national unity.

Other noteworthy proposals include:

– A constitutional amendment requiring that the President and the First Vice President hail from the same region (north or south). The First Vice President would ascend to the presidency if the President becomes incapacitated.
– Ensuring financial autonomy and accountability for Local Government Councils by establishing an independent Consolidated Local Government Council Account, managed exclusively by Local Councils. This proposal includes strict penalties, such as long-term imprisonment, for the misuse of Local Government funds.

The concept of a six-year single tenure for political office holders has previously surfaced in political discourse. Notable opposition figures like Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi advocated for this system following their loss in the 2023 presidential election to Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Despite its historical rejection by both the Senate and the House of Representatives, where similar bills have been dismissed, the proposal remains a topic of vigorous debate.

These proposed reforms, if enacted, would mark a profound shift in Nigeria’s political structure, aimed at enhancing stability, accountability, and equitable representation across the nation. The Reform Minded Legislators are hopeful that these changes will lead to a more efficient and just governance system, benefiting all Nigerians.


Credit: ChannelsTV

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