Members of the Aso Rock cabal are pushing a third-term agenda for President Muhammadu Buhari and for the amendment of the Nigerian Constitution to allow the President to stay beyond 2023, Presidency sources have told SaharaReporters.
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”.
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 told SaharaReporters on Wednesday night that members of the Aso Rock cabal are in on it and that some of them who had presidential ambitions ahead of 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, as SaharaReporters had earlier reported.
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.
The recent clamour by Northern elites has also been linked to the third-term agenda, with strong northern voices stressing that the region could retain the Presidency following Buhari's departure from office.
One of the sources added that Buhari is expected to visit Glasgow, Scotland; Paris, France, and Dubai, the United Arab Emirates before the end of 2021.
The source, however, did not disclose if the trips have anything to do with the President’s third-term agenda.
“Recently, members of the cabal with interest in Presidency were told to step down. Malami is now back as Kebbi State APC (All Progressives Congress) Governorship candidate after initially telling people he could run for President,” one of the sources told SaharaReporters.
“Also, the recent strong clamour for the presidency to remain in the Northern part of the country is as a result of this. Guess who they want to use to push the agenda? It’s the same person you know, the APC candidate in the November governorship election in Anambra, Andy Uba.
“Uba is expected to start the third term campaign when he wins as Anambra governor. He did it before for Obasanjo, paying off lawmakers in the failed third term campaign. He is the one being used by the cabals to do the dirty job again many years after."
“Buhari to visit Glasgow, Scotland, Paris, France and Dubai, UAE before the end of 2021 amidst strong rumour of third term agenda,” another source said.
This comes two years after an APC chieftain, Charles Enya filed a suit, seeking the amendment of the constitution to allow Buhari to get another term in office.
Enya, who served as Organising Secretary to Buhari during the 2019 general elections had filed the suit (FHC/AI/CS/90/19) before a Federal High Court in Abakiliki, Ebonyi State.
He asked Malami, Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, as well as the National Assembly, to remove constitutional clauses hindering elected presidents and governors from seeking a third term in office.
The APC member sought for possible expungement of both sections. According to him, “that section 137(1)(b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,1999 (as amended) restricting the president to only two terms of four years each, is inoperative by virtue of its discriminatory nature in relation to the executive and legislative branches of government in Nigeria, and therefore null and void and thus inapplicable”.
He also sought an “order of the court nullifying and setting aside Sections 137(1)(b) and 182(1) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended). And directing the first and second defendants to delete and expunge sections 137(1)(b) and 182(1)(b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (as amended).”
A few days after, Buhari claimed he wasn’t going to make the mistake of attempting a third term.
“I’m not going to make the mistake of attempting a third term. Besides the age, I swore by the holy book that I would go by the constitution and the constitution said two terms,” the President had said during the APC NEC meeting on November 22, 2019.