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The Third Term Masquerade: What Next Buhari?

Although in 2011 after Buhari lost to former President Good luck Jonathan, he vowed not to contest any election again, his decision did not hold sway as we all know what happened next.

It appears the dust raised by the insinuations that President Muhammadu Buhari will contest for the 3rd term in office come 2023 is far from over. Despite several denials by President Muhammadu Buhari that he will not be vying for a third term in office, some members of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) recently called for the amendment of the constitution to allow President Buhari seek for a third term in office.

Although the APC and the Buhari Media Organization distanced themselves from the call for amendment of the constitution to accommodate a third term option for Buhari, saying the President’s decision not to run for a third term in office is sacrosanct, final and irreversible, many have said the Buhari’s handler may still be testing the water as third term agenda is still in the pipeline.

Aisha Yesufu Fumes

While some held that it may be too hasty to conclude that President Buhari may be vying for a third term in office, one of the President’s critics, Aisha Yesufu seems not convinced. She had said in a viral video the President would not be able to face the consequences if he takes a shot at the Presidency for the third time.

Aisha Yesufu, co-convener of BBOG and a strong critic of President Muhammadu Buhari

“Here in Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari would not dare to go for a third term, we will die for our nation, and we will stay on the road and lay down our lives. I am not a slave to anyone I do not know about you”.

In an exclusive telephone interview with Roots TV, Yesufu said, the President “…swore with the holy book, to uphold the constitution, and the constitution says that he can run for two terms only, is he now saying that if the constitution allows him to run for a third term, he would run for a third term? And then the holy book that he swore by should be that he was upholding the constitution which now allows him to run for a third term”. That Buhari may be seeking to extend his tenure as President of the federal republic of Nigeria has been a subject of discussion on the mainstream media and the internet. The third term debacle has perhaps become a household matter, eliciting different reactions.

During the APC National Executive Committee meeting held in Abuja, Buhari said, ‘You should read the constitution because I am not going to make a mistake. Besides age, I am not going to contest for the third term because I will go by the constitution. The constitution says two-term, I’m going, to be frank here because I won’t be needing anybody’s vote’

Is Buhari A Man Of His Words?

Many have said that some of Buhari’s ‘failed’ promises are also an indication that he should not be taken for his word on the third term debacle. It will be recalled that before Buhari came to power in 2015, he had declared in 2010 that if elected he would spend just four years in office.

Former President, Goodluck Jonathan

Although in 2011 after Buhari lost to former President Goodluck Jonathan, he vowed not to contest any election again, his decision did not hold sway as we all knew what happened next.

Then the wailer’s slogan; “People Begged Me to Contest” this became the excuse of Buhari which lunched him to contest for election again. Buhari won the 2015 Presidential poll defeating incumbent Goodluck Jonathan. 4 years after, Buhari remained in power for another 4-year term.

Many have also questioned the President for his frequent travels abroad most especially on medical grounds saying it’s a clear deviation from the position he held before he became the President to reduce the cost of governance and reduce medical tourism. 

Before the 2015 Presidential election, Buhari while speaking at Chatam House was questioned why a sitting President should embark on foreign trips. Buhari had said: “What is the difference between me and those who elected us to represent them, absolutely nothing. Why should the Nigerian president not fly with other Nigerian public? Why do I need to embark on a foreign trip as a president with a huge crowd with public funds? Why do I need to go for a medical trip abroad if we cannot make our hospital functional?

No Respect for Rule of Law: Falana Lands Presidency A Big Blow

Human Rights Lawyer Femi Falana is also among notable Nigerians who hold the view that the insinuations about the third term agenda should not be discarded. Falana in a recent comment made allegations that President Buhari’s reason for ‘clamping down on the media’ was to prepare grounds for the launch of his third term ambition.

Femi Falana

He said, “Our country has gone to the dogs and the media must help. That is why the war is against the media because, for the 2023 race, the media must be silenced. You may have a third term campaign very soon. Very soon they are going to destroy all possible opponents and that already started. So by the time they bring in the third term agenda, the media would have gone down, but we will fight against it’’

Can the Third Term Project Work?

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo nurtured a premature third term agenda a year to the expiration of his 8 years as President, his effort to amend the constitution to include a third term for Presidents was aborted. This was resisted by the upper and lower chamber of the National assembly. Obasanjo was alleged to have spent $500 million in the fail third term bid.

An elected president can only run for 2 terms of 4 years each as provided in Section 135 of Nigeria’s 1999 constitution as amended.


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Section 137 (1) (b) explicitly prevents President Buhari from seeking a third term “a person shall not be qualified for election to the office of President if he has been elected to such office at any two previous elections”. However, there are fears in some quarters that the President, who enjoys an unalloyed loyalty from the leadership may get the constitution amended to achieve his purported third term agenda.