Journalism in the service of society

I never said I’ll help Buhari get unlimited term in office – Lawan

SENATE President, Ahmed Lawan, has refuted rumours making the rounds that he wouldn’t mind tinkering the constitution to allow the incumbent President of the country, Buhari, to reign forever in the exalted office.

One Comrade Mayor had attributed the claim to Lawan’s in a a tweet posted in March 2019.

“I won’t mind a constitutional amendment to allow unlimited term of office for President if President Buhari wishes to remain in office beyond 2023,” Mayor quoted Lawan to have allegedly said.

The tweet, although now deleted, was retweeted and quoted over 1,000 times.

Meanwhile, Mayor did not state where or when Lawan made the statement.

Reacting in a statement through Ola Awoniyi, his Special Adviser on media, the senate president attributed the tweet to the handiwork of mischief-makers.

Lawan said he had never made such a statement noting that the position of the 1999 constitution is clear on the tenure of president in the country.

“The Office of the President of the Senate has noted a tweet by one Cmr Mayor attributing a fabricated statement to the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan,” the statement read.

“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,” the statement read.

“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 overwhelmingly 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 added that he stands by the “well-considered and roundly appreciated provision of the constitution” on the issue – and that he “will never subscribe to any move to amend it”.

Many Nigerians quickly lapped up the tweet without subjecting it to close scritiny because the 9th Assembly under the leadership of the duo of Lawan and his counterpart in the House of Representatives, ‘Femi Gbajabiamila, has come under harsh criticisms for being a rubber stamp for the Executive.

Reacting to the criticisms recently, Lawan said there was nothing wrong for the Legislative and Executive arms of government to have a cordial relationship.

He said the two arms of government would maintain the cordial relationship for the progress of the congress.

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