The Nigerian ruling party has called for one-term limits on the president and governors, in a effort they say will limit election-year strife in a country that has seen plenty of it.
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the same political party that controls the Nigerian presidency as and a majority of seats in the legislature,has just recommended “a single tenure of seven and six years respectively for the President and state governors in the country.” This is the same party that not long ago vowed to rule Nigeria for the next 60 years and secured power in a violent 2007 election that observers claimed were deeply flawed.
The party’s National Chairman, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, says that elections “tend to be more acrimonious, contentious and even violent when the country is transiting from one Government to another,” and that having single tenures will reduce the “incumbency factor”—obstacles to free and fair elections when incumbents seeking re-election are challenged by strong candidates and, therefore, rely on rigging, violence, and other illicit activities to maintain power.
This actually may not be a bad idea…at least on the surface. But my gut tells me that the PDP has other motives for increasing presidential and gubernatorial tenures than the party’s concern for election integrity. Or maybe I’m being too pessimistic; after all, the Nigerian government did call for the postponment of elections in Zimbabwe. Still, my gut is telling me that Prince Ogbulafor is not spilling his guts.
When PDP ends the automatic immunity-from-prosecution for Nigerian elected officials, we’ll be more impressed.
Read more in the Global Integrity Report: Nigeria.
— by Stephen Roblin —