The two of term elongation (which aims to reduce possible terms from two to one) and the initiation of a third term have been roaming around the houses of the legislature since during President Olusegun Obasanjo, and still under debates till now, and also under denial of the move to make them happen too. But the former Vice President Abubakar Atiku—who worked against the passing of a third term (and possibly also worked against term elongation too) under his boss former President Obasanjo—coming out as a supposed opposition of this current government of President Muhammadu Buhari to posit that an elongated one term of six years would improve democracy in Nigeria instead of the 4-year term of two possible terms. This is yet another thing said that’s not factual!
Thinking a single term of 6 years would improve democracy is ignoring so many other factors undermining democracy in Nigeria; factors which are in fact mostly independent of the duration of a term a ruler has. Few of them being: our political culture, political apathy, corruption from the highest to the lowest offices in the executive arm of government, corruption in every arm and level of the government, the vulnerability of the judiciary to the executive, the dependency of the electoral body and the tribunals, godfatherism and clientele politics, nomination of the next candidate by the incumbent candidate, and what have you. Every one of the mentioned factors undermine democracy in Nigeria independent of whether the incumbent is spending two terms of four years each on the seat or one term of six years.
Yes, as Atiku says, the elongated term would stop the incumbent presidents and governors from using all the government resources at their disposal to make themselves win their second-coming elections and have a second term to themselves by all means, but the abolition of second term to elongate the first time to six years wouldn’t stop the incumbent rulers from using all the government resources at their disposal to win the election by all means to bring their favorite candidates to power. Which would fault how Atiku thinks an elongated term instead of a double term would improve democracy. An elongated term would only stop the incumbents from bringing themselves to power again, using all the advantages they have as incumbents over other candidates who are not, it would not stop them from using the government resources at their disposal to bring their favorite candidates in by all means. Which would still make the elections unfree and unfair as they have always been since the last few decades.
To sound insecure, elongation of term and abolition of the second term may in fact reduce the number of rulers will have who do great during their first term (just because they need a good record for a second term). We all know how our rulers become worse at their second term no matter how good or bad they were at their first term, and we all know the major reason why they do that—to secure a second term. Though abolition of the second term may stop a bad incumbent ruler from coming to rule again for another 4 years, but it cannot stop a bad incumbent from supporting a bad candidate and making sure they get to power using all the government resources they have at their disposal. Atiku didn’t think this deep!
Olusegun Peters is a businessman, an investor and a scholar. He is the founder of primerinfotech.com and pec-ng.com. He is passionate about contributing his knowledge to impacting as many people as possible one person at a time. Read more about Olusegun Peters here