By CHUKS EKE
The Millennium Centre for Training and Leadership, MCTL, has advocated a single term of five years for a President of Nigeria and Governors of the 36 states of the federation, as part of measures to reduce the current high cost of governance in the country.
MTCL insisted that the two term tenure of four years each for a president and governors is more of a disservice to the nation than an incentive to good governance, adding that even when the politicians manage to clinch the second term victory for another four years, they hardly use it to do anything, rather, they just go to bed and relax.
President of MCTL, Prince Okey-Joe Onuakalusi who made the call in reaction to the just concluded nation-wide EndSARS protests carried out by the youths, declared: “In Nigeria, we transited from the parliamentary system of Government to the presidential. And the latter is very expensive to run”.
“Here in Nigeria, we have witnessed the sheer banditry of the state treasury by the governors and other public office holders who plunder the said treasury so they could have an adequate war chest to fight for re-election”.
“In all honesty, what is suited for Nigeria is a single tenure of five years for both the President and Governors. I don’t know what a serious leadership cannot accomplish within five years. With a five-year single term for the executive arms of government in Nigeria, the nation will be saved from wanton misappropriation of the state resources by the incumbent president and governors in preparation for the 2nd term bid and our democracy will as well be saved”.
“The single term of five years is the best for any serious political leadership that wants its name written in the sands of time or in the collective memory of the people because they’ll see the time limitation as one that constrains them to act expeditiously, make a name and leave the stage while the ovation is laudest”.
“The two term tenure is more of a disservice to Nigeria than a an incentive to good governance. And even when the politician manages to clinch the second term, they hardly use it for any development in the state”.
“The proposal for term limit for members of state and federal legislature is old. Chiming in his contribution to the debate, I am also advocating that term limit for law makers is the way to go”.
“There is the absolute need for power transition through the generational loops. Not a few of our law-makers you see today have been in the National Assembly since 1999. This is their 21st year in that position and they have contributed little or nothing to the development of the nation. So, once you have a maximum four terms of a four year tenure, that will be an incentive for the young ones to aspire for public life”.
“But when the young ones see that it’s still the same people that have been there for ages and might die there, they will rather deploy their talents for something else. Who loses? The country”.
“The Senate or House of Reps shouldn’t be a retirement home for expired politicians and retired military officers—a place where they go to collect all types of allowances, emoluments and benefits”.
“I admit, however, that the foregoing submissions can only be put to effect by way of constitutional amendments. “It’s still a work in progress”.
“MCTL is aligning itself to a statement credited to the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Olumide Akpata to the effect that NBA would initiate a legal action against Lekki Toll Gate killings on penultimate Tuesday”.
We are also aligning ourselves to Akpata’s call on the international community to sanction the country’s public officials by instituting comprehensive Visa ban on them, their children and close relatives as this period calls for the documentation and gathering of evidence especially in regards of states that have set up Judicial panels of inquiries”.
All those who have suffered untoward hardships and injustices in the hands of defunct SARS should avail themselves the opportunity of presenting their cases and bringing an end to this impunity of some officers of Nigeria police.We strongly suggest and welcome the call on the European Union and United States to place strict visa restrictions on Government officials who some way or the other are involved or complicit in these killings. Their children should also be subjected to the Visa ban. The perpetrators of the heinous act should be profiled and shamed”.
“You recall that many parts of Nigeria have been under the grip of civil protests and demonstrations for the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad unit of the Nigeria Police SARS as a result of the murderous atrocities committed by the men of SARS against young Nigerians especially those that are well documented”.
“Inside the torture Chambers of the defunct SARS operates located in different parts of the country, crime suspects in their custody usually end up reportedly being killed or maimed by the operatives in the bid to extract self-implicating confessions from them”.
“However, combined with the mass privation in the country following the protracted COVID-19 lockdown, the frustration of young Nigerians due to SARS’ activities snowballed into a sustained popular protest that gradually saw states like Lagos being literally shut down by the protesters. The protesters blocked arterial roads in the state, making commuting in it quite difficult”.
“While many have explained that the anti-SARS protests are no more than a metaphor for the people’s frustration with all that is wrong with Nigeria; others insist that Nigerians shouldn’t lose sight of what generated the protests in the first place, namely unrequited police brutality”.
“This development calls for comprehensive police reform. Police reforms should not be in terms of legislative enactment or amendment. We have had enough of that. This is not a matter of legislation. All you need in the police now is retraining and reequipping the police, plus police welfare reforms in practical terms”.
“Did you know that some police officers have no accommodation. They live right inside the police stations. They sew their own uniforms, buy their own boots, kit themselves literally in order to do their job?”
“If you’re a police officer and you buy your own working kits, for which Government had made budgetary provision of, don’t you think that recouping your money through taking of bribes on the road will be seen as fair enough? This is what promotes impunity and extortion among police officers”.
“They see the state as having abandoned them, hence they take their frustration on the citizens. Regardless, there are members of the police force who are simply bad. Even if the best conditions of service are afforded them, that won’t stop them from being bad officers. Such policemen should be identified and profiled”.
“My argument is that the problem of poor funding of the police can readily be tackled. This can be done by holders of elective and appointive offices in the country subjecting their humongous remuneration to 50% slashing for the benefit of the police as an institution”.
“Nigerian law-makers are the highest earning legislators in the world. A Senator in Nigeria earns more than a Senator in the US. So with the present agitation of the youths, I am of the firm view that all persons occupying elective and political appointive positions in Nigeria should have their salaries slashed by 50% and the proceed should be kept in the Sovereign Wealth Fund to be used for the funding of the Police Force”.
“What you see as police brutality is as a result of the fact that police officers work under extremely difficult conditions. This is what goads them to inflict pains on Nigerians. With the rechanneling of this money extracted from politicians, police officers can be afforded basic welfare and modern policing equipment. Therefore the recent disbandment of SARS is a good development that should be rendered permanent”.
“I am suggesting a local policing alternative to SARS. To the average Nigerian, SARS is synonymous with murderous brutality. They represent oppression, impunity. SARS has been banned. That should be permanent”.
“Now in Nigeria, we have 774 local governments. Each of those LGs has Divisional Police Offices or headquarters. I am of the view that those DPOs should be properly equipped in order to assist the police to discharge their role as crime-fighters and as protectors of the citizens because crime is local”.
“With good welfare, the police officers will be able to do their best to fight crime and protect the citizens. With this, the police will be able to nip in the bud criminal tendencies just when they’re budding, which is usually at the local level”.
“When armed robbers are arrested, where do they take them? Is it not to the Divisional Police headquarters? So creating another SARS with a different name is just another way of continuing with the impunity”.
“Therefore, every Constitution is determined by the demands and wants of the people. The constitution is a product of the people’s collective will. No two constitution should be the same because every nation has its peculiar circumstances and challenges”.