Sarumi Others Differ On Five-Year Single
From Charles Coffie Gyamfi
(Abeokuta) and Bayo Amusan (Lagos)
DISCOURSE on the merit of a
five-year single term for the President and state governors,
continued at the weekend, with politicians sharply divided on
the practicability of the proposal many regard as a stop gap
Speaking on the issue yesterday in Lagos while fielding
questions from journalists, former Minister of Cooperation and
Integration in Africa, Chief Dapo Sarumi said the proposal is
not only unworkable, but amounted to postponing the evil day.
According to Sarumi who is a governorship aspirant in the
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the most realistic approach to
the problem which he identified as manipulation of the
electoral system, is to take the electoral machinery from the
control of the government.
"Whether the country adopts a five year single term or a
seven-year double term, the problem would persist. In fact the
five-year single term will further compound the problem, as it
would not create room for stability of the system and of
accountability political office holders," Sarumi said.
He warned against creating problems for the future
generation who would have to contend with the problem that the
five-year single term would create.
"The real problem is manipulation of the system by the
incumbent who is desirous of remaining in power. Let us put in
place a structure that would make the system free of
manipulation. Until we are able to take away the ability to
manipulate the system from the governing party, the problem
will not go away.
He therefore urged politicians to desist from acts that
could undermine the credibility of the electoral system,
"In fact I would not mind a longer stay in the office by
the president and governors, two terms of 7 years for
instance. This would ensure stability," the PDP chief said.
But Senate Chief Whip, Senator Adawari Pepple, is rooting
for the proposal. For him, the inordinate ambition of
politicians to remain in power is the cause of insecurity in
the country, therefore the five-year single term may be the
He added that the single term option, will give a sense of
belonging to all zones in the country, as power would rotate
Speaking with journalists in Abuja, Pepple noted that
almost all the executive office holders in the country today
are gearing to be re-elected, without considering whether they
have performed well or not.
According to Senator Pepple "this issue of maintenance of
the status quo, whether the Nigerian People want it or not, is
a very dangerous phenomenon threatening our polity today", the
The Chief Whip said that with the Independent National
Electoral Commission (INEC) not showing any seriousness that
it can conduct a smooth and fair election, most discerning
Nigerians have been unnecessarily put on edge as to what the
Also pillorying the five-year single term proposal,
yesterday, a member of the PDP board of trustees, Mr. Tunde
Oshunrinde said it is misleading.
The PDP chieftain described the recent advice of The
Patriots to President Olusegun Obasanjo not to seek
re-election, as a wrong interpretation of the prevailing
climate in Nigeria."
Oshunrinde appealed to The Patriots to have a rethink about
their position on the issue.
He said that their suggestion with regard to a
"constitutional amendment to address a purely attitudinal
problem, is to trivialize the seriousness of the process of
He said in a statement released at Abeokuta that The
Patriots being men of outstanding achievements, should
join the efforts to tame the demon of failed democratic