NORTHERN pressure group the Arewa Youths Consultative Forum (AYCF) has warned President Muhammadu Buhari against any attempt to perpetuate himself in office with a third term.
Nigeria’s constitution only allows the president and governors to serve a maximum of two four-year terms and first elected in 2015, President Buhari is mandated to leave office by 2023. Over recent weeks, however, there have been rumours that the members of the president’s kitchen cabinet are working on plans to alter the constitution and allow him stand for a third term.
This was last tried by former president Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in 2007 but the project failed after the senate rejected his bid to change the constitution. AYCF president Yerima Shettima, has warned President Buhari that they would mobilise their members and ensure that such a move does not see the light of the day.
Mr Shettima said: “We are aware that certain things are going on in this government. We are aware that the issue of third term agenda is ongoing but the government has not come out openly to say that there was such plan or not.
“The rumour of the third term is everywhere and it will die just like Obasanjo’s third term bid because we are determined to mobilise and ensure that the issue of third-term does not see the light of the day.”
He also charged vice president Professor Yemi Osinbajo to fight back against President Buhari’s kitchen cabinet because he has been ridiculed in the presidency. Of late, Professor Osinbajo has come under attack with about 35 of his aides sacked and several powers, including his running of the government’s Economic Management Team have been taken away from him.
According to Mr Shettima, Professor Osinbajo risked being removed if he failed to fight back or resign as vice president. Insisting that the current government has undermined Professor Osinbajo, Mr Shettima wondered why the vice president has remained silent in the face of his travails in the hands of the presidency.
Mr Shettima added: “We have discovered that certain people in the corridors of power are manipulating the system for their selfish interest. Like it or not, somebody somewhere wants to ensure that the vice president is put off the system so that he can’t find his way to the presidency in 2023.
“One thing about this government is no matter how they pretend, something is wrong. The moment they said the president and his vice were in good terms I knew something was wrong because there can’t be smoke without a fire.
“Instead of sacking aides of the vice president, why not look at the National Assembly, if really they want to reduce the cost of governance in Nigeria or why not look for a way of placing so many aides there doing nothing on allowances or reduce the number rather than look at the office of the vice president. Some of us know that the battle line has been drawn and Osinbajo is serious being undermined, which is a clear indication that he is a target and they would pull him down.
“I’m surprised that he has not come out boldly to seek the sympathy of Nigerians and speak his mind. He is sitting there quietly because he wants to prove to Nigerians that he is a man of God.
“The office of the vice president has been ridiculed so for me it’s either he’s out to fight or he resigns because if he doesn’t and can’t fight back then certainly they would remove him through any means. Nobody thought it was possible to remove the chief justice of the federation but they did it easily, so how more the vice president that is a spare tyre to the president.”