Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, says President Muhammadu Buhari will hand over to his successor at the end of his tenure in 2023.
On Monday, Robert Clarke, senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), had said the Nigerian constitution allows Buhari to extend his tenure in order to tackle the country’s security challenges.
Reacting to the statement on Tuesday, Shehu said the president is committed to observing democratic values by handing over to the candidate elected by the people.
“Chief Robert Clarke, a very well respected elder may be sincere in his wish for the president to extend his term by six months. We wish to categorically restate that the president will step down on May 29th, 2023, after serving two terms – as per the constitution,” he said.
“Having been the first recipient of a democratic transfer of power from an incumbent administration to an opposition candidate in Nigerian history, the president is committed to extending and entrenching democratic values across the country. He shall, in turn, hand the privilege of serving the people of Nigeria to whomever they choose through free, fair and credible elections.
“However, Chief Clarke is right to say that without security, Nigeria would not likely realise its true potential as a peaceful and prosperous nation. That is why it has been at the core of this administration. The results are there for all to see.
“Boko Haram terrorists have been forced back from controlling whole swathes of this country. Internally displaced persons are now returning to rebuild their communities. This achievement has been accomplished through the bravery and determination of the Nigerian armed forces and the fortitude of the people of our nation.
“New challenges have arisen and tackled in turn – whether it’s the National Livestock Transformation Plan to alleviate herder-farmer clashes, the elimination of the leadership of ISWAP, or new efforts to combat banditry. Till the last day of the administration, the security of the citizens shall remain the administration’s paramount concern.
“We shall finish the job. Yet, in any case, respect for the constitution and Nigerians’ democratic rights remains the best path to securing and then maintaining peace.”
Shehu added that the administration will honour the constitution and the people’s right to decide.