3rd term gambit: Your assurances not enough, arrest the agitators -: HURIWA to Buhari

EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO'S COLUMN GENERAL NEWS

The prominent civil Rights Advocacy group – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has called for the arrest and prosecution of campaigners and sponsors of emerging campaign for self-perpetuation in office by president Muhammadu Buhari because what they are advocating for is treasonable and amounts to a constitutional coup plot.

HURIWA said any subterranean or open campaign apparently sponsored by forces within the current government for the constitutional term limits for political office of president of Nigeria to be extended extra-legally or even through the national parliament is an offence against the Nigerian people and against the 1999 constitution capable of truncating constitutional democracy and must not be swept under the carpets or explained away through a presidential media propaganda.

The Rights group said the Nigerian constitution in chapter 6, part 1 and specifically section 137(1)(b) 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 just as the Rights group stated that any contemplation to violate this sacred code of the grund norm through orchestrated and sponsored activities of thugs must not be dismissed with a mere wave of hand but must be penalized because if the weight of the law is not applied to sanction these violators the illegality will evolve into a life of its own. 

HURIWA further stated that section 1(1) of the constitution states thus: “This Constitution is supreme and its provisions shall have binding force on the authorities and persons throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria” even as section 1(2) states thus: “The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall not be governed, nor shall any persons or group of persons take control of the Government of Nigeria or any part thereof, except in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution”.

The Rights group affirmed that going by the plethora of provisions in the extant constitution under which the current administration is serving out its last tenure of office cited above, all those sponsoring groups and members of such amorphous groups campaigning for tenure limitation to be disrupted should be arrested and charged to court for treasonable felony because what they are advocating for is for a change of government through an illegal overthrow of the Nigerian constitution.

“Why will president Buhari arrest a 21 year old boy and the activist Omoyele Sowere for planning to organize mass protests against the government, but the same government has looked the other way when street urchins hired by hawks in the presidency are protesting publicly urging for the breach of constitutional provisions so as to achieve tenure elongation for president Buhari?, HURIWA asserted.”

“The selective enforcement of arrests of protesters based on the side, texture and color of the message they are transmitting to the public amounts to double standard and is discriminatory which offends section 42(1) which specifies that “A citizen of Nigeria of a particular community, ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion or political opinion shall not, by reason only that he is such a person:- (a) be subjected either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any executive or administrative action of the government, to disabilities or restrictions to which citizens of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religions or political opinions are not made subject; or (b) be accorded either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any such executive or administrative action, any privilege or advantage that is not accorded to citizens of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religions or political opinions.”

“The statement denying any plot by president Buhari to self-perpetuate is just tissues of soft propaganda and is treated as such unless this government will arrest and prosecute for treason all those going about campaigning for third term because these characters are attempting to foist a government through a process other than what the unambiguous provisions of the constitution have stated”, HURIWA said. 

“We in HURIWA wishes to tell President Muhammadu Buhari that his statement that he will not seek tenure extension at the end of his 2nd term in office as rumors of a possibility spread in the gossip mill is deceitful and manifestly unacceptable as long as his government fails to arrest and charge for treason all those going about campaigning for tenure elongation to favour him. Can we hereby tell President Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu that his statement on Nigeria’s Independence Day in which he made the declaration saying categorically that the President will not seek tenure extension under any circumstances and will not support an amendment of the constitution to make that happen has not totally and conclusively addressed this matter and can we tell him and his boss our President that discerning Nigerians are not convinced that the well-funded campaign for third term against the constitution can be dismissed as an internet-based gossip and un-informed media commentary regarding presidential term limits, given credence by so-called support groups, staging street demonstrations asking President Muhammadu Buhari to do a third term. In Nigeria, it has been proven that abnormalities have been normalized by those in government including the President who on many occasions openly disrespected the binding orders of courts. Who says that tomorrow this administration will not deny issuing this tepid press statement? We don’t believe this government when it says that there are no circumstances – nor set of circumstances – under which President Buhari may seek to amend the Constitution regarding the two-term term limit on holding office as President. Telling us that President Buhari intends to serve his full second elected term in office, ending 2023 – and then there shall be a general election in which he will not be a candidate and that there is not even the faintest possibility that this will change is simply sounding politically correct to deceive gullible Nigerians to now believe that this same President with high dosage of disrespect for court orders won’t violate the constitution that mandates him to serve only two terms and no more. For the President to dabble into the arena of partisanship by reminding us that it is important to note that there was a past attempt to change the Constitution to allow for the-then incumbent president to stand for a third term and that attempt was wrong, unconstitutional – and rightly rebuffed has done nothing to assuage the perception of this government as a perpetual violator of the Constitution because as we speak this same government is in violation of section 6 of the constitution conferring judicial powers of the federation on courts because the President failed to comply to over half a dozen binding court decisions. If he now says no such attempt at tenure elongation will happen under this President and that President Buhari is a democrat who respects the Constitution including his confession that any activity aimed at altering the two-term limit will not succeed and shall never have his time nor support, then he has only one option- arrest and charge the campaigners for third term for treason. ”

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