Political inexpediency and ill-timing may have forced President Goodluck Jonathan to temporarily back down from presenting a single-term tenure bill of six years for the office of the President and state governors.
Presidential spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati told newsmen last month that President Jonathan was contemplating forwarding a bill of single term tenure for the President and governors in a fresh round of amendment of the 1999 Constitution.
But the plan has run into a hitch.
Daily Sun reported last week that the single term proposal suffered a setback when some legal experts engaged by the Villa to deliberate on the propriety of the bill differed on the proposal.
Fresh facts however, emerged yesterday that the decision to shelve the single term tenure bill for now was because of the inability of the president to secure the consent of the National Assembly.
The leadership of the National Assembly flatly refused to accept the proposal, which was considered ill-timed.
Besides, there is no fund allocated in the 2011 Appropriation Act for amendment of the Constitution.
Sources told Daily Sun yesterday that the President met the leadership of the National Assembly on plans to introduce the bill.
They told him to drop the idea, it was gathered. The leadership of the National Assembly reportedly told the President that the idea was not only ill-conceived, it was also ill-timed.
A ranking Senator privy to the meeting recounted how “the leadership told the President that such a weighty and sensitive bill should not have come from the Presidency in the first place.
“They told the President that he should have allowed the bill to emanate from the National Assembly, at best, from the Constitution Review Committee (CRC) when it decides to go ahead with another review of the 1999 Constitution.”
An analogy was drawn between the single term tenure bill and the third term clause which was defeated during the amendment of the Constitution during the fifth National Assembly.
In related development, it was also gathered that the decision to suspend the single term tenure proposal may actually have a remote factor in the paucity of funds in the National Assembly.
There is zero allocation for Constitution review in the 2011 budget. “That is why nothing has happened concerning the Constitution review since the inauguration of the seventh National Assembly.
“It is true that the House of Representatives has constituted a 37-member committee for its own CRC, but the Senate has not followed suit. This is because there is just no money for the exercise to start at all.
“Both Houses are looking in the direction of the management of the National Assembly for a loan to kick-start the exercise but it is not yet clear whether money can be borrowed from that source.