Lagos - Some lawyers on Tuesday expressed different opinions on the proposed Senate Committee’s review of the 1999 Constitution for a five-year single tenure for some elective political offices.
The committee had suggested a five-year single tenure for the President, Vice-President, Governors and Deputy Governors.
The committee said that the proposal would deepen democratic culture and ensure sustainable development in the country.
Mr Bamidele Aturu, a Lagos-based lawyer, said that he was in support of the senate’s suggestion for now.
``The reason I support it for now is that the level of corruption in Nigeria makes it necessary to accept five, instead of eight years of looting.
``Though there are advantages and disadvantages of it, one would have thought that a second tenure would have made elected persons to work, hoping to be voted in again but it has not worked out that way,’’ he said.
He said that aside from the five-year tenure, the National Assembly should come up with ways of strengthening the nation’s institutions to effectively checkmate looting by political office holders.
``With strong institutions, the issue of tenure will give way to performance while in office,’’ he said.
Another lawyer, Mr Fred Agbaje, said that the proposed five-year tenure should be put to a referendum.
``Let the National Assembly sensitise Nigerians on the issue and let the electorate decide what they want.
``No matter the number of years, there is a need for the electorate to have their input on it,’’ he said.
Agbaje, however, criticised the proposal, saying that it had no meaning to the ordinary man on the street.
``The National Assembly should concern itself with addressing fundamental issues on the ground including the power sector, insecurity and employment.
``Coming up with a five-year tenure proposal does not reflect the challenges presently being faced by the nation,’’ he said.
Also speaking, Mr Mohammed Fawehinmi, son of late Gani Fawehinmi, described the proposal as ``the most ridiculous in the history of Nigeria.’’
``There are governors who have used their four-year tenure well. If any elected person cannot perform in four years, what is the guarantee that he or she will do a miracle with the additional one year being proposed?
``A serious governor or president can use two years to make changes. This proposal is irrelevant and unnecessary,’’ he said.
Fawehinmi said what was expected of the Senate was to come up with strategic plans to help salvage sectors faced with imminent collapse in the country.