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The Constitution Does Not Limit The Terms State And National Assembly Legislators Can Contest

By Osaze Jesuorobo

Sections 137: 1 (b) and 182 1 (b) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) disqualifies any person who has been elected to the office of President or Governor respectively at two previous elections from re-contesting for the two offices.

In the same vein, Sections 65 and 66 as well as 106 and 107 stipulate conditions that qualify or disqualify aspirants wishing to contest for seats in the National and State Assemblies respectively.

In the case of the President and Governor, they are restricted to two terms while the Constitution is silent on how many times a person can contest for seats in the National and State Assemblies.

Which brings me to the issue currently raging in the Social Media, the so-called ‘Third Term’.
Like I wrote above, while the Constitution stipulates the terms for the Executive Arm, it is silent on the number of times a person can contest or re-contest for seats in the National and State Assemblies. For me, I align with the provisions of the Constitution which stipulate what qualifies or disqualifies a person from contesting for seats in the National and State Assemblies. The talk about the so-called “Third Term” or no “Third Term” to me is a non-issue and a deliberate attempt to whip up unnecessary negative sentiments by those who feel intimidated by the achievements of the current occupiers of the Legislative seats, especially the National Assembly seats.

Distinguished Senator Ehigie Edobor Uzamere became the first person to be elected twice into the Senate in 2007 and 2011 in Edo South. In 2015, he voluntarily declined going for a reelection into the Senate for the third time. That was his personal decision which he had the right to take. Hon Ehiogie West Idahosa SAN ran for Ovia Federal Constituency seat three times, 1999, 2003 and 2007 and won on the three occasions.

If Senator Uzamere broke the one term jinx by going to the Senate twice in Edo South and Hon West Idahosa SAN went to the House of Representatives three times, I don’t see the reason for the hullabaloo and political ‘masturbation’ (pardon me if the word is offensive to you) over the desire of the sitting members of the National Assembly to recontest. The Constitution guarantees them the right to contest as many times as they wish to, so long as their party and the electorates in their constituencies feel that they have performed well in their previous representations, and as such, give them the nod to continue.

What amuses me most is that those ranting about “third term” or no “third term” are not card carrying members of the PDP(for the purpose of this right up, I will restrict myself to PDP) and so will not be in a position to determine or influence who emerge as candidates of the party whether in Edo South or Edo Central. What I expect from them is to wait till PDP throws up her candidates and ambush the successful candidates at the general elections if they so wish. Whipping up sentiments in the social media or threatening to stop aspirants, especially as non PDP members who cannot influence voting in the primaries they are not eligible to participate in or do not have control over, is to me, embarking on wild goose chase.

What I expect those shouting no to “third term” to do is to unveil their preferred aspirants. This will enable the delegates and the entire party members to ventilate on the aspirant’s pedigree, their past and present performances, in and out of office, in both the public and private sectors, their educational qualifications, family backgrounds, their level of intelligence, their verbal articulation as well as their achievements in life. These and many others are issues that will come to play when choices are being made not senseless “no third term” sentiments.

PDP will no longer leave behind it’s 1st eleven and send it’s 3rd eleven for any election. PDP will no longer send those who cannot speak good English Language or become lost when important issues are being articulated in the National Assembly. The era of having our representatives in both the House and Senate sleeping during plenary or participating only when the Presiding Officers ask the members to say “aye” or “nay” is over. We are going to send our best, inclusive of but not limited, to those presently there. The era of sending 419 or jobless people as well as mediocre to the National or State Assembly is over. The best will represent us.

Finally, I laugh when I see those claiming to mobilize against their so-called “third timers”. Is it not ironic that those who could not mobilize voters in their favour when they contested and failed in their election bid are now mobilising against aspirants. If they are great mobilisers and they are as popular as they want people to believe, they could have won their own House of Assembly election in a constituency that has only six wards.

A typical case of healers who could not heal themselves.

While I concede that it is a great influencer, it must be noted that elections are not conducted or won in the social media.

To God alone be the Glory.

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