By Correspondent Chinyere Ogbonna – One of the major political parties in Nigeria, The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has described as patently fraudulent, deceptively self serving and a terrible misadventure the plan by President Goodluck Jonathan to send a Constitutional amendment bill to the National Assembly to pave the way for a single tenure for the President and the Governors of the thirty-six states of the federation.
A statement issued in Ibadanthe Oyo state capital by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Wednesday, the twenty-seventh of July, says the party the plan also confirms fears being expressed in some quarters that this President enjoys power for the sake of it, instead of using it to the benefit of Nigerians.
It describes the single tenure project as fraudulent because the President never promised Nigerians, during his electioneering campaign, that this will be his priority project once elected into office, adding that the issue is also not known to be in the manifesto of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP).
ACN said the project is also self-serving because, despite the deceptive proviso that President Jonathan would not benefit from it, there is also nothing in the constitution that bars him from seeking another term of office in 2015.
“This is nothing but tenure elongation by subterfuge and it is worse than the third term misadventure of his Godfather. All it takes for the proviso (inserted to hoodwink gullible people) to be knocked off is for anyone to seek a declarative court ruling that he (President Jonathan) is indeed qualified to seek another term. After all, he did not go that far to disown his party’s zoning principle, which he signed on to,” the party said.
The statement also expresses concern that the ill-conceived project could prove to be a divisive issue, further threatening the country’s fragile unity.
According to the statement, “Much as most Nigerians are shocked by President Jonathan’s plan, we are sure it did not come to them as a total surprise, because it is in line with his style since assuming office.
After the death of the former President, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and his (President Jonathan’s) ascension to office, he cannot be remembered for anything beyond stoking the fire of zoning or no zoning, which burned brightly until he was elected President.
The statement requires President Jonathan to be more concerned with strategies to grow the nation’s moribund economy; or to ensure that millions of jobless youths are gainfully employed, provision of infrastructure, guarantee security of lives and property in the country and check the spiraling exchange rate of the Naira to the major world currencies, with its bandwagon effects.
It adds that “By seeking to use this meaningless bill to divert the attention of Nigerians from the issues listed above, while cunningly buying his government enough time to consolidate, President Jonathan has done an incalculable damage to his integrity and disappointed the millions who voted him into office. He should therefore jettison this ill-advised pursuit of tenure elongation through the back door, apologize to Nigerians and face squarely the daunting task of serious governance. If he fails to do so, which is very likely, the National Assembly should not waste time in throwing it away,”
The statement further notes that while no one should fall for the deceptive proviso that the single tenure project will not benefit the President, it is indeed irrelevant whether or not it benefits him, since the issue pales into insignificance when placed side by side with matters that should be the priority of any serious administration that is eager to deliver the dividends of democracy to the citizenry.
It therefore urges Nigerians to reject the project which it describes as evil.