Sunday, 16 June 2013

Single Tenure: ‘Presidency Not Losing Sleep Over 2015 Date’

Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Dr. Ahmed Gulak, on Saturday said the Presidency was not losing sleep over the insistence of the Senate Committee on the Amendment of the 1999 Constitution that the single term proposal must begin in 2015.
Gulak, who spoke exclusively to our correspondent, was reacting to an interview the Chairman of the committee, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, granted Saturday PUNCH.
Ekweremadu had said the commencement date would not be changed to 2019 as proposed by the Presidency because President Goodluck Jonathan had not declared his intention to seek a second term.
Ekweremadu said the president’s aide was wrong in his earlier argument that the single term proposal was targeted at the President and first term governors.
But Gulak insisted that the issue at stake was not whether they (the President and governors) had shown interest, but whether it was fair for the Senate to change the rule in the middle of the game.
He however said the Presidency was not bothered because the report of Ekweremadu’s committee remains a proposal, that still needs the input of other lawmakers both at the national and state assemblies.
He said, “We are not losing sleep. Our position has always been that because the Senate committee made a recommendation does not necessarily means that the proposal will scale through.
“The recommendation will still be debated in plenary and it will still go to state Houses of Assembly. So it is not yet an amendment.
“The issue at stake is not whether the President and the governors have declared their interests or not.
“What we are asking is that were these people not elected under a constitution that allows them to run for maximum of two terms? Will it be fair to them if their right to contest a second term is trampled upon? Will it be fair to change the rules in the middle of a game?”