From Fred Itua, Abuja
Senate president, Ahmad Lawan, yesterday, said he was opposed to alleged plans to elongate the tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari beyond 2023.
In a statement by his media adviser, Ola Awoniyi, the Senate president denied the tweet where he was said to have supported the amendment of the Nigerian Constitution to allow President Buhari stay beyond 2023.
Said Awoniyi: “In the mischievous tweet, the Senate President was quoted as saying he won’t mind a constitutional amendment to allow unlimited term of office for the President if President Buhari wishes to remain in office beyond 2023. Our initial reaction was to ignore the ignoble mischief, especially since it is not new, having been posted two years ago on 27 March 2019. But because the tweet has been trending again on social media, it becomes necessary to issue a formal rebuttal of its purport.
“We therefore say categorically that the Senate President has never made any such statement, before or after 2019. “The old tweet which was entirely the handiwork of mischief makers is now being circulated again on social media by purveyors of fake news. The 1999 Constitution has a firm position on the tenure of the President that reflects the popular stand of Nigerians.
“Section 137(1)b states as follow: A person shall not be qualified for election to the office of President if (b) he has been elected to such office at any two previous elections. The Senate President has never found anything wrong in that provision of the Constitution and has always stood firmly by it. It bears recalling that Lawan was a member of the National Assembly when in 2006 it threw out an attempt to amend that section of the Constitution and elongate the tenure of the President. The National Assembly acted then in obedience to the overwhelming popular desire of Nigerians.
“It is therefore ludicrous to imagine that Lawan would ever be in the vanguard of any such misadventure that is again certain to fail if ever pursued again. The Senate President stands by the well-considered and roundly appreciated provision of the Constitution on the issue and will never subscribe to any move to amend it. We therefore enjoin members of the public to ignore the old fabricated statement mischievously attributed to the Senate President and now being circulated by mischief makers.”