Preresident Muhammadu Buhari has promised to leave office by 2023, swearing by the Holy Quran. The Nigerian President also swore that he will serve in accordance with the constitution and go when his time is up.
The President stated this at a meeting in Makkah with some Nigerians living in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where he just ended a visit.
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”.
The statement by Buhari appears to be his way of shutting down the members of the cabal who have been pressurising him to go for another term in office. 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 Reporters recently 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 is the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, who had been eyeing the Presidency. The cabals comprising some members of the President’s extended family, friends, and some northern governors and leaders are described as the powers behind the throne.
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 will 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.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Yahaya Lawal and the Consul-General in Jeddah, Abdulkarim Mansur, attested to the good conduct of the nearly 1.5 million Nigerians there.
He said, “Nigerian professionals are doing well and projecting a good image of our country.”