Former President Goodluck Jonathan said, yesterday, that a four-year tenure was too short for any president to make meaningful impact on the country.
He also said there was no need for any president to remain in power for upward of 14 years, since the country was not his private estate.
Jonathan, who stated these at the constitutional term limits summit taking place in Niamey, Niger Republic, said the conduct of elections was too expensive that it could constitute a distraction to performance.
He made veiled reference to Nigeria, where people are already discussing 2023 elections, barely months after the 2019 elections.
According to him, this can distract any president with a four-year tenure in office, especially in the developing world.
He noted that conducting elections every four years was too burdensome for countries, especially developing countries, stressing that it was also too distracting for the president in power.
He said: “When Professor Wade (Senegal) was in his last tenure, he changed the constitution and extended the term limits from five to seven years.
‘’He thought he would win the election. But Macky Sall reduced it to five years. We must commend dynamic leaders like that.
“There is no need for one person to sit for 14 years, doing what? The country is not your personal estate. Countries are free to amend their laws. Just like the president of Niger Republic said, different nations have different ways of doing things, so it is better they have their own way of doing things. I agree to that.
“Most countries in Africa emulate America that is a stable country, and take four years as tenure. Such countries include Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana.
“Four years is quite a short period for a country that is developing for a person who wants to change the country to do much.
‘’In Nigeria, we just finished the election and some people are already talking about 2023 election. It is distracting.
“That is why some people come with the idea of a single tenure; so a president can sit down and plan all his programmes for the good of the country.
‘’We are too distracted with these elections. Why must we waste money every four years to elect a leader? Those are the things that agitate our minds.”
The ex-president had, during his tenure, canvassed a six-year single tenure for Nigeria’s president but he was pilloried by many stakeholders who argued that his recommendation was an attempt to perpetuate himself in office.
Jonathan was defeated by the incumbent President, Muhammadu Buhari, in the 2015 elections and remained the first incumbent to be defeated in an election in Nigeria.