The National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole, on Thursday justified the decision of the President Muhammadu Buhari to remind Nigerians that he would leave office in 2023.
He said it was to erase any doubt about the President leaving office on completion of his second term.
Oshiomhole stated that Nigerians had become accustomed to thinking that once a President spent two terms of eight years in office, he might not want to leave because the Peoples Democratic Party planted the idea in their minds.
He cited the case of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, whom Oshiomhole claimed wanted a third term after completing his constitutionally-allotted two terms in 2007 by attempting to use the National Assembly to approve the agenda.
Oshiomhole spoke with State House Correspondents after he met with Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said his visit was to wish Buhari well, thank him for the performance of his regime in 2019 and to discuss projections for 2020.
Buhari had in his New Year message to Nigerians on January 1, stressed that he believed in democratic principles and would stand down in 2023.
He also promised to promote democratic values in Nigeria and across the ECOWAS sub-region.
“I will be standing down in 2023 and will not be available in any future elections. But I am determined to help strengthen the electoral process both in Nigeria and across the region, where several ECOWAS members go to the polls this year,” Buhari had said.
Defending the President, Oshiomhole explained why Buhari had to stress that he would leave office in 2023. “I am surprised to see that there are people who wonder why the President reassured Nigerians that he is not going to do a third term in office. Third term was planted by the PDP; it is still in the sub-consciousness of most Nigerians that the first Nigerian President, (who) tried to do a third term, emptied the treasury to bribe members of the National Assembly.
“Since that President left, thanks to the National Assembly, no other next-President has done eight years in office.
“You can recall that (the late) President Umar Yar’Adua, unfortunately, he has since joined his ancestors, and President Goodluck Jonathan, did six years.
“By the special grace of God, this President (Buhari), we pray, will complete his eight years in line with the provision of the constitution. Because there is a level of idleness within a section of the political class, people can sponsor all kinds of publications and to create doubts about whether or not the President is planning to stay longer.
“I think it is his decision that at every interval, he needs to remind Nigerians that he is not about to do what a PDP President did. For me, it is necessary and, in any case, it costs us nothing to reassure us that he is leaving.”
However, the PDP has said Oshiomhole should stop pushing the APC third term discourse in the public space.
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement advised Oshiomhole to desist from going to the Presidential Villa to push the impossible as such will not save him from the axe of suspension dangling over his political head or his prosecution over allegations of corruption and mismanagement of Edo State resources while he was governor of the state.
According to him, such missions to the Villa, like the one Oshiomhole made on Thursday, will also not save the APC from fizzling out before 2023.
Ologbondiyan said, “Oshiomhole should therefore stop sounding like a broken brass in his attempt to launder a failed merchandise.
“Of course, Nigerians need not be reminded of the exit date of an administration that has caused them so much pains, abused our law, trampled on their rights and undermined our electoral process.
“It will interest Oshiomhole to know that if anything, Nigerians are already counting down to May 29, 2023, when the APC and the Buhari administration will be consigned to the dustbin of history.”