A seven year term for Nigerian president ?

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Nigeria’s ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has recommended a seven-year single term for President, according to Friday’s edition of the privately-owned This Day newspaper.

In its recommendation to the Electoral Reform Committee in Abuja, the Nigerian federal capital city, PDP also suggested a six-year single term for state governors and three years for chairmen of local government councils.

It also recommended a zoning arrangement on the basis of North and South for the presidency and rotation along senatorial zones for the governorship.

According to This Day, the recommendation may also bring to the fore again the contentious issue of tenure of the president and governors.

The 1999 Constitution, which Nigeria currently operates, provides for two terms of four years each for president and governors.

In the eleven-page recommendation signed by PDP National Chairman Vincent Ogbula for but presented by National Publicity Secretary Ahmed Rufai Alkali, the party said in view of the fact that incumbency had become a major obstacle; calling on incumbents to resign before elections no doubt would create anarchy and disorder.

In this regard, “PDP therefore recommends a system of tenure of seven years for President, six years for governors and three years for local government chairmen.

The paper quoted the PDP as recommending that legislators, both for the state and national assemblies, could continue to seek re-election “as long as they are electable”.

The party also recommended a six-month interval between election and swearing-in to enable all petitions to be disposed off before winners assume office.

PDP also called for the de-registration of political parties that fail to win at least 10 per cent seats in the National Assembly.

This, it said, became necessary if the party must enjoy financial support and re cognition of the electoral body.

It recommended proportional representation for women at the electoral, administrative and all executive levels, while urging the electoral panel to propose the Open Ballot System for the country in the interim until the country became politically matured.

However, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and the Middle Belt Forum (MBF) have called for the re-introduction of the Option A4 introduced by the regime of General Ibrahim Babangida.

In separate papers presented by General I.B.M. Haruna and Chief Isaac Shaahu for the ACF and MBF respectively, they described Option A4 as the best electoral system capable of eliminating rigging and other electoral vices.

Both ACF and MBF also called for a two-party system and the scrapping of state electoral commissions.

While ACF called for stiff punishment for electoral offenders including jail terms of up to 21 years, MBF called for a two-year punishment for all categories of electoral offenders, including INEC officials.

MBF further called for the inclusion of Electronic Voting Machine, while people with physical disabilities supported the call for electronic voting with a modification for Electronic Audio Voting System to help the dumb, deaf and blind in casting their votes.

The chairman of the group, Brandison Hart, said that this had became necessary because there were over 19 million Nigerians that are physically challenged.

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