President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, has rejected suggestions of extending his tenure when it expires on May 29, 2023, promising that he has no plan to stay beyond his constitutionally guaranteed time.
A statement from Garba Shehu, the president’s spokesperson, says that there is “no going back on leaving office after completing his constitutionally guaranteed tenure.”
According to Shehu, Buhari emphasized “that the May 29, 2023, handover date is sacrosanct.”
The clarification is coming in the wake of a suggestion by senior lawyer, Robert Clarke, SAN, that the president may need to serve for an extra six months to give him enough time to address the country’s security challenges.
Clarke who lamented that the country was moving in the wrong direction, said insecurity had become intractable and may disrupt the 2023 presidential election.
He said, “The Constitution provides that the President can stay longer than eight years. I’ve always said it. It is in the Constitution. If the situation in which we’re in now continues, and it is impossible to vote in the 2023 elections, the Constitution says if a situation persists, the President can stay. Given all insurgencies, kidnappings, and Boko Haram, I don’t think in these areas of Nigeria, we can have a good election.
“So, the fact that the Constitution says the president cannot stay for more than eight years is wrong. Because the same constitution says he can be given six months if those conditions persist.”
“Now, I don’t see any green light. I don’t see how what is happening today can be stopped within six months from today or before February next year when the elections will be held.
“The alternative then is for Mr. President to continue as president, allow the security watches to carry up the mopping up and Nigeria will become stable.”