Thursday, September 19, 2013
2015, A THIRD TERM FOR JONATHAN?
Icheoku queries:- if President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan runs and wins in 2015, would he be then embarking on a third term presidency? The answer seems to be technically "Yes" since he would have been sworn in for the third time consecutively as president of Nigeria; except that he was not elected president in 2010 which somewhat made him a 'de-facto' president without a mandate as he was then merely completing the term of the late President Umaru Yar'Adua. Icheoku queries further, were President Umaru Yar'Adua to have instead died a day immediately following after his inauguration in May 2007, and the then Vice President Jonathan stepped in to "complete his four year remaining term," could this have also qualified as a completion of term and not Jonathan's own presidency term?
The problem created here, which many people expected constitutional lawyers to have gone to court for determination is what number of years left in a presidency qualifies for completion of term and not a full term? At what stage in the presidency would an arising sudden vacancy create a fresh term for the succeeding vice president or a term of his own instead of just a mere completion of term? Icheoku is of the opinion that there is a lacunae in the law governing succession of the presidency in case of such unexpected vacancy arising from death or resignation or impeachment and the legislators should pull a rabbit out of their hats to fix this. Admitted that a vice president is a president in the waiting, but what happens where a conflict develops as to presidential term limit where such succeeding vice president claims as of right his entitlement to subsequent two full terms following his completion term of the departed president? Would this have inadvertently created an elongated term surpassing the allowable two terms of four years each aggregated eight years in office? So like in the poser prior, assuming a president died in the beginning of his first term and his vice president takes over and after the completion of the term seeks his own two four year term, would the law allow such a president to spend twelve years in office instead of the legal eight years? As with President Jonathan, if he finds his way and wins in 2015, he would have spent ten years in office instead of the allowed eight years, so is this legal and within the prescribed presidential terms?
Icheoku posits that the National Congress owes Nigeria a resolution on this matter and they can follow the examples of some other countries including Venezuela where the vice president is allowed to function in an acting capacity only until elections are conducted to fill the created vacancy. Icheoku does not know what the position is in Ghana which also recently lost its President John Atta Mills and was succeeded by then vice president and now President John Dramani Mahama? When US President Kennedy was murdered in 1963 in Dallas Texas, Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson succeeded him but declined to run for a second term in 1968 when he said "I shall not seek and I will not accept the nomination of my party for another term as your president;" so the issue was not addressed nor settled then by the United States whose idea of democracy Nigeria is trying to emulate? So Icheoku says to avoid such undue advantage of benefiting extra years in the presidency, a sitting vice president should be legislated to only act as a president until a new president is elected to fill a created presidential vacancy. Just as they do in some other countries, such vice president should feel free to run to succeed the departed president and if he wins, start his own presidency de novo; as most recently happened in Venezuela when Hugo Chavez died and his Vice President Nicolas Maduro won a fill-vacancy election and became the new president. In such case, a vice president like the then Goodluck Jonathan would have held forte just as acting president for about three months within which elections would have been conducted and if he won, would have been sworn in as a freshman president who was beginning his own term.
This would have solved all the problems now rearing its ugly head through the renegade "nPDP" that President Jonathan is going for a third term by running in 2015? According to this meddlesome interlopers, quoting their press release "What we are saying is that if President Jonathan chooses to run in 2015, it will be like the third term which Obasanjo wanted to smuggle into the 1993 constitution. What we are doing is to sensitize Nigerians that there is no difference between what Obasanjo wanted to do and what President Jonathan wants to do if he runs in 2015.." Icheoku says although this may sound plausible if weighed against some technicalities of President Jonathan having been sworn in 2010 and again in 2011 and possibly once more in 2015, but the "nPDP" and other well meaning Nigerians including Icheoku know for a fact that these disgruntled "nPDP" rebels are talking complete balderdash and gibberish with their misstated position meant only for the gullible, whom they intend to hoodwink into hating a third term agenda as they despised Obasanjo's and by extension President Jonathan's quest for his legal second term in 2015.
These "nPDP" guys are being clever by half, they know the truth but are too coy in not speaking the truth about what transpired then in 2010 viz a viz their 2015 propaganda of a Jonathan's third term. Therefore Nigerians must rise up and tell these denigrates that they are not fools; that they know better and know exactly what the position of the law is regarding this matter and that President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan will not be going for a third term if he runs in 2015. 2015 would be Jonathan's second term if he chooses to go for it as he is rightly and legally entitled within the ambit of the provisions of the law. In 2010 when he became president by providence, he never ran, nor campaigned nor was he ever elected president and therefore had no term of his own but was merely complying with what the dictates of the law required of him as a sitting vice president to a demised president. At best the catapult which shot Jonathan into the presidency could be understood for what it is - an act of God, pure and simple. Put in another way the nearly two years succession-term which President Jonathan got in 2010 could be subsumed as a bonus to his presidential term, but not a presidential term of his own to preclude him from seeking another term in 2015, period. Nigerians be wise and do not let any of these anarchists put a ring on your nose. It is 2013 for crying out loud, so why must some disruptive usurpers do your thinking for you.