• Monday, March 04, 2024
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Umahi proposes tenure, age limit for federal legislators

The Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi has proposed a maximum tenure of three terms of four years each for federal legislators.

He also suggested that there should be an age limit for lawmakers.

Umahi, who spoke in a special interview on Channels Television Sunrise Daily, Wednesday, dismissed the allegation that the Senate, since the return of civil rule in 1999, has become a retirement home for former governors.

“I want to suggest that there should be tenures for legislators and an age limit also fixed- three terms of four years. Again, there should be an age limit of 70 years,” he said.

Responding to the concern being raised over the influx of former governors into the Senate vis-a-vis the requisite experience for robust law-making, the governor said that in matters of experience, the former governors had a lot of it.

He pointed out that his regular interface with the state house of Assembly had exposed him to the requirements for senatorial engagements.

“When governors have sat in the saddle for eight years; what type of experience do they not have? Mind you, as a governor you interface with the state house of assembly and by so doing, you understand what goes on there. There is no governor that does not have experience or that does not know what to do in the Senate. What experience do they not have?

“I hear people say the Senate is a retirement home, but that is not correct. It is a place for those former governors to put in the experiences they have garnered over the years,” he said.

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When reminded that the perception of the people about the National Assembly was that of a rubber stamp in the hands of the Executive, the out-going governor who is now senator-elect, said: “When people talk about rubber stamp, what they want is that the legislature should fight with the executive. But that should not be the case. Fighting will not help the nation. We have a common goal to reset the nation; that should make everybody think the same way- the progress of the country. We have to be engaging.”

Reacting to the question of why it seemed the South East geo-political zone was holding the short end of the stick in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), which may have informed the consideration of the deputy House of Representatives position for the zone, Umahi explained that the fact that the zone was a late entrant into the party may have informed the perception.

He, however, added that the situation had begun to change with the robust engagement with the national leadership of the party.
The governor also said that the party’s fortunes in the zone had been getting brighter and brighter to the point that it controls the highest number of states in the South East.
“Today, you can see, APC has two states; PDP has one; APGA has one and the Obidients one,” he said.

Umahi had in November 2020 dumped the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He had complained that the party was unfair to the South East that had been loyal to it over the years.

He joined the APC where he contested the party’s presidential primary but lost to Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Having lost his presidential bid, he won his party’s nomination for a senatorial seat in his state. He was declared the winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the National Assembly election held on February 25, 2023, to represent Ebonyi South.

Umahi also nursed the ambition to become the Senate President in the in-coming 10th Assembly, but with the endorsement of Godswill Akpabio from Akwa Ibom State by the president-elect, supported by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party, he has since yielded to the supremacy of the party.