UNGA: Don’t hold on to power beyond your constitutional limits, Buhari urges world leaders

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has urged world leaders not to cling to power after their constitutional tenure.

He stated this on Friday while addressing over 80 world leaders at the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Buhari made the remark less than two years to the 2023 elections where he would be expected to release power to the next Nigerian President after eight years in Aso Rock.

Buhari, who was also a former military head of state between 1983 and 1985, has been Nigeria’s democratically elected President since 2015.

Speaking at the Assembly on Friday, he lamented that the democratic gains recorded in West Africa are now being eroded by the activities of power grabbers in the region, a thinly veiled reference to recent military takeovers in Mali and Guinea, both in West Africa.

He, however, restated that Nigeria supports the efforts of the continental and regional blocs including the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States at solving the issue.

Addressing the world leaders including the new UNGA President, Abdulla Shahid of Maldives, Buhari said, “In West Africa especially, our democratic gains of the past decades are now being eroded. The recent trend of unconstitutional takeover of power, sometimes in reaction to unilateral changes of constitutions by some leaders, must not be tolerated by the international community.


“Nigeria fully supports the efforts by ECOWAS to address this growing challenge and appreciates the support of both the African Union and the United Nations.

“In this regard, I would like to reiterate that as leaders of our individual Member-States, we need to adhere to the constitutional provisions of our countries, particularly on term limits. This is one area that generates crisis and political tension in our sub-region.”

A number of world leaders have been known for tyrannical sit-tight syndrome including adjusting the constitutions of their respective countries to perpetuate their stay in power. Some of the presidents who have stayed in power for about three decades include Paul Biya (Cameroon), Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), Teodoro Mbasogo (Equatorial Guinea), Denis Nguesso (Congo), Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Vladimir Putin (Russia), amongst a host of others.