By Bukola Olasanmi
President Muhammadu Buhari says he will not seek a third term in office at the end of his second term in 2023.
The Nigerian Constitution sets a two-term limit for the president and state governors, but that has not stopped speculations that Mr Buhari may want to stay beyond 2023.
Former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, was accused of pursuing a third term agenda in 2006 until the Senate threw out a constitutional amendment bill promoted by his associates.
Speaking on Friday a meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja, Mr Buhari said he has no intention to prolong his stay in office.
“I said you should read the Constitution because I am not going to make a mistake. Besides the age, I am not going to contest for third term because I will go by the Constitution. The Constitution says two-terms. I’m going to be frank here because I won’t be needing anybody’s vote,” President Buhari said in his address to the meeting.
Prior to President Buhari’s address, PREMIUM TIMES witnessed protocol officials barring the sacked Edo State chapter chairman, Anslem Ojezua, from entering the venue. However, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State was at the meeting and sat among the party’s state governors.
Commenting on the lingering crisis within the party, President Buhari said history will not forgive the party leadership if the APC collapses.
He tasked members of the NEC to dominate their constituency politically.
“History will not be fair on us, quite frankly, if APC collapses at the end of this term. History will be fair to us if APC remains strong at the centre rather than playing games.
“Everyone must work hard, contribute resources physically, materially, and more to ensure we maintain the leadership politically of this system. This is what we should all aim at and make sure at our various constituencies.
“What happened in Imo, Bauchi, Sokoto and Zamfara are so unfortunate. I would like you in your constituencies to make sure that you read the constitution of the party, you understand it and you stick to it.”
He admonished the people to elect only responsible and respected people into the wards and local government executives of the party to avert division or break up of the party.
President Buhari said it is only by electing responsible persons at the state level of the party that the APC can be sustained beyond 2023.
“If for any other reason you divide the party at your constituencies to cause failure, history will not forgive you,” he said.
He commended the speedy consideration of the 2020 budget by the National Assembly. He said his government would ensure it maintains the cordial relationship with the lawmakers.
“I have tried several times to make Nigerians understand that the 16 years of PDP helped the country to create Nigerian elites through the oil boom which are not commensurate with infrastructural developments in the country.
“Look at the roads. The railway was killed and you know there is no power (electricity). If the infrastructure are good, a lot of Nigerians would mind their businesses because Nigerians are competitive.
“I want you to accept that you are now in charge. I am the president but the APC is in charge. We worked very hard to where we are and I want you all to continue to work as a body.”
He said all those who left the party will come back. The president said he does not need to threaten anybody with police because he went through due process himself to get elected.
“We will work honestly through the system to ensure we produce the best that will win in the 2023 elections,” President Buhari established.
The NEC meeting also had in attendance Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, ministers, state governors, including Bayelsa State governor-elect, David Lyon; and state chairmen of the party.