President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday confirmed an earlier expose by SaharaReporters that the Presidency cabal was plotting a Third Term agenda despite his maladministration and repressive eight-year regime.
Buhari had stated this at a meeting in Makkah with some Nigerians living in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where he just ended a visit that he would serve his tenure and leave when his time was up, in a subtle confirmation of what the cabal was planning as earlier exposed by SaharaReporters.
Buhari said, “I swore by the Holy Qur’an that I will serve in accordance with the constitution and leave when my time is up. No ‘Tazarce’ (tenure extension). I don’t want anybody to start talking about and campaigning for an unconstitutional extension. I will not accept that.”
In a statement issued by Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Buhari warned anyone canvassing for a tenure extension for him.
The statement further said President Buhari also tacitly expressed support for efforts to increase the role of technology in the nation’s elections, arguing that the introduction of the card reader and electronic register was God’s answer to his prayers, having been cheated of his victory in three previous elections.
“After the third so-called defeat, I said, ‘God Dey’. My opponents laughed at me but God answered my prayers by bringing in technology. At that point, nobody can steal their votes or buy them.”
President Buhari, who ended his visit to the Kingdom with the Friday Prayers at the Grand Mosque in Makkah said he would continue to abide by the constitution in all its ramifications and he will at all times supervise and deal with his ministers on the same basis.
He gave assurances at the meeting that in the balance of “eighteen months or so of my time left, whatever I can do to improve the life of Nigerians, I will do it for the country.”
The President commended Nigerians in Saudi Arabia for representing the country well and projecting its good image.
He also asked citizens to be fair to his administration at all times, asking critics to compare the security situations in the North-East and South-South in 2015 and the current situation.
“My problem is the North-West where people are killing and stealing from one another. I had to be very hard on them and I will continue to be very hard until we put them in line and bring back order,” he said.
SaharaReporters on October 7 revealed that some members of the Aso Rock cabal were pushing a third-term agenda for Buhari and for the amendment of the Nigerian Constitution to allow the President to stay beyond 2023.
Section 137 (1)(b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), provides that “a person shall not be qualified for election to the office of President if he has been elected to such office at any two previous elections”.
A similar move was made about 14 years for former President Olusegun Obasanjo, which failed.
The so-called Third Term Agenda collapsed on May 16, 2006, when the Nigerian Senate threw out the Constitutional Amendments Bill. Obasanjo left office a year later on May 29, 2007.
Sources in the Presidency had told SaharaReporters that members of the Aso Rock cabal were in on it and that some of them who had presidential ambitions ahead of the 2023 elections had been told to step down.
One of them was the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, who had been eyeing the Presidency, as SaharaReporters had earlier reported.
The cabal, comprising some members of the President’s extended family, friends, and some northern governors and leaders were described as the powers behind the throne.
The recent clamour by Northern elites had also been linked to the third-term agenda, with strong northern voices stressing that the region could retain the Presidency following Buhari’s departure from office.
“Recently, members of the cabal with interest in Presidency were told to step down. Malami is now back as Kebbi State APC (All Progressives Congress) Governorship candidate after initially telling people he could run for President,” one of the sources had told SaharaReporters.
“Also, the recent strong clamour for the presidency to remain in the Northern part of the country is as a result of this. Guess who they want to use to push the agenda? It’s the same person you know, the APC candidate in the November governorship election in Anambra, Andy Uba.
“Uba is expected to start the third term campaign when he wins as Anambra governor. He did it before for Obasanjo, paying off lawmakers in the failed third term campaign. He is the one being used by the cabals to do the dirty job again many years after.”
“Buhari to visit Glasgow, Scotland, Paris, France and Dubai, UAE before the end of 2021 amidst strong rumour of third term agenda,” another source had said.
This comes two years after an APC chieftain, Charles Enya filed a suit, seeking the amendment of the constitution to allow Buhari to get another term in office.
Enya, who served as Organising Secretary to Buhari during the 2019 general elections had filed the suit (FHC/AI/CS/90/19) before a Federal High Court in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State.
He asked Malami, Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, as well as the National Assembly to remove constitutional clauses hindering elected presidents and governors from seeking a third term in office.
The APC member sought possible expungement of both sections. According to him, “that section 137(1)(b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,1999 (as amended) restricting the president to only two terms of four years each, is inoperative by virtue of its discriminatory nature in relation to the executive and legislative branches of government in Nigeria, and therefore null and void and thus inapplicable”.
He also sought an “order of the court nullifying and setting aside Sections 137(1)(b) and 182(1) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended). And directing the first and second defendants to delete and expunge sections 137(1)(b) and 182(1)(b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (as amended).”
A few days after, Buhari claimed he wasn’t going to make the mistake of attempting a third term.
“I’m not going to make the mistake of attempting a third term. Besides the age, I swore by the holy book that I would go by the constitution and the constitution said two terms,” the President had said during the APC NEC meeting on November 22, 2019.