The 2023 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, has proposed a single six-year term of six-year for the Nigerian president.
Atiku made this proposal alongside others on Monday while addressing a press conference on the Supreme Court judgement that affirmed President Bola Tinubu’s victory on February 25, 2023.
The former vice president recommended the six-year tenure for president to be rotated within the six geo-political zones in the country to address concerns about regional imbalances to promote national unity in the country.
He said: “This will prevent the ganging up of two or more geo-political zones to alternate the presidency among themselves to the exclusion of other zones.”
Atiku noted that the 1995 constitutional conference’s seminal recommendations, including the proposal for a rotational presidency based on a single six-year term across the country’s six geopolitical zones.
He further lamented that these recommendations were disregarded when the 1999 Constitution was formulated, thereby denying crucial reforms to Nigeria’s democratic system.
“However, and rather disappointingly, the government that midwifed the current democratic dispensation and enacted what is now known as the 1999 Constitution expunged these two recommendations from what eventually became the body of legislation to govern our fledgling democracy,” Atiku said.
Similarly, he recommended that a presidential candidate must secure 50% +1 of the valid votes cast and proposed a two-round system, similar to the one used by several countries globally, including France, Finland, and Brazil, where a runoff between the top two candidates would be held if the initial threshold was not met.
In addition to the single six-year term, Atiku also called for several other reforms to Nigeria’s electoral system, including the urgency of constitutional amendments to prevent courts from using technicalities to affirm electoral malpractices, as well as the need for substantive democracy expressed through transparent, fair, and free elections.
“We can urgently make constitutional amendments that will prevent any court or tribunal from hiding behind technicalities and legal sophistry to affirm electoral heists and undermine the will of the people. Our democracy must mean something; it must be substantive. Above all, it must be expressed through free, fair, and transparent elections that respect the will of the people,” he stated.
The PDP candidate also said the Independent National Electoral Commission should also be mandated to verify the credentials submitted to it by candidates and their parties and where it is unable to do so—perhaps because the institutions involved did not respond in time—it must publicly state so and have it on record.