The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Wednesday Year message to Nigerians titled: Nigeria’s Decade.
It also said that Buhari should withdraw his remark that he would be “standing down” in 2023.
According to the PDP, the President and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), would have no other option than to exit office at the end of this tenure.
The opposition party said in a statement by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, that the message lacked the bite to galvanise any form of hope for a despairing nation like Nigeria.
It, therefore, called on Buhari to stop “showboating by issuing a fresh New Year message to demonstrate a commitment to electoral reforms by returning the Eighth Assembly Electoral Act Amendment Bill, which he refused to sign, to the present National Assembly without any further delay.”
The PDP statement reads: “The PDP holds that Mr President should have the courage to issue a fresh new year message to show remorse for the corruption, incompetence and misrule of his administration as well as admonish his disintegrating APC against its crass insincerity, violence and divisive machinations that have brought so much pain, anguish and despondency to our nation.
“Indeed, President Buhari should stop presenting a picture as if he has the option to continue in office beyond 2023.
“The PDP holds, in total submission to the letter and spirit of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), that it is not an issue of ‘standing down’ or not being ‘available’ for future election, but a decided and inevitable position as contained in the constitution that he must quit office after two terms, which will end in 2023.
“Mr President, therefore, does not have any other choice before the law. Whether President Buhari likes it or not, he and his APC will exit the arena at the end of this tenure. History is replete with lessons from those who sought to stretch our nation beyond her limits.
“Moreover, President Buhari and his extinguishing APC ought to have known by now that Nigerians have moved ahead and cannot wait to see them go.
“The citizens are no longer swayed by empty promises and false performance indices as replete in Mr President’s new year message.”
PDP also called on the President to waste no time in signing the Electoral Act amendment bill passed by the 8th National Assembly to meet current exigencies.
Besides, it asked Buhari to order the immediate prosecution of APC leaders who allegedly perpetrated violence during the 2019 general elections.
Specifically, the main opposition party charged the President to ensure the arrest and prosecution of persons involved in the killings that characterised the governorship elections in Ekiti, Osun, Bayelsa and Kogi states.
But, Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) said President Buhari’s statement that he will not seek a third term was welcome.
According to them, the President’s speech has quelled rumours of a possible tenure elongation.
A former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President Dr Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) said the speech “looks like an important reassurance”.
Another SAN, Norrison Quakers, said it was the good that the President has laid the matter to rest.
“The pressure, so to speak, of perhaps mischief makers who are trying to get him to think or believe that they can tinker with the Constitution to give him a third term, will end as he has now laid the issue to rest.
“What the President has done is that he has laid it (the third term speculation) to rest since for a long time there has been speculation that the President is nursing the idea.
“Mr Femi Falana (SAN) has also talked about this, that there is a plot to give the President a third term, so Mr President saying this now has laid the issue to rest.”
Falana praised the President for not seeking a third term.
According to him, the unconstitutional third term agenda was started by some All Progressives Congress (APC) members.
“It is good that President Buhari has disowned the group. However, the political space should be liberalised without any harassment,” he stressed.
The activist-lawyer urged the Federal Government to obey court orders.
“All court orders should be complied with. The Department of State Services (DSS), police and other security agencies should release hundreds that are being detained without trial.
“The impunity displayed through total disregard of the Constitution and other laws should stop. All public officers whose terms of office have expired should be retired.
“All new appointments should reflect the federal character in line with the provisions of the Constitution,” he said.