Prof. Itse Sagay, a Senior Advocate Of Nigeria believes legislators pushing for a parliamentary system of government are engaging in wasteful diversion of time and resources.
“Once again Nigerians (this time unemployed legislators) have found a new favorite subject for debate and wasteful diversion of time and resources. Suddenly, Parliamentary System of Government is the holy grail for Nigerian political salvation. For days now, the media, both orthodox and social have become fiercely engaged in pursuing a new political chimera with excitement and apparent seriousness.
Let it be made clear, the whole idea of one system being better than the other is “poppycock”, time wasting, arising from either ignorance or mischief. The mischief here is to have a Buhari with reduced powers.
In 1963, when I was an undergraduate at the University of Ife, the Students’ Union invited Chief Rotimi Williams, soon after he left office as Attorney-General of the Western Region, to address the Students’ Body on which system was preferable for Nigeria: Parliamentary or Presidential? I have never forgotten his answer. Briefly summarized, it was that neither of the two systems was better than the other. The success of Governance depended on the quality of the operators of government. Bad operators, i.e., bad politicians and “leaders” would always produce bad and failed governance. In other words, the fault was not in the system of governance, but in the quality of the operators of the system.
We were operating this suddenly “golden” parliamentary system then. It led to a declaration of a state of emergency in the Western Region, restriction and detention of major political figures, crisis and violence, and the fall of the first Republic. The fault dear Nigerians was not in that system, but in the irresponsible and reckless manner in which First Republic politicians conducted themselves.
It is even more foolish to think that the introduction of the parliamentary system will weaken the Buhari Government and empower the opposition. On the contrary, the Prime Minister under a Parliamentary System is far more powerful than a President under the Presidential system. The Prime Minister combines the positions of Leader of Parliament and Head of Government. He does not need the confirmation of parliament to appoint Ministers. It is his sole prerogative. If a vote of no confidence against him succeeds, he can dissolve parliament, and compel his critics and foes to face a fresh election in which they might not be returned. In other words, a Prime Minister is President and Speaker of the House of Representatives rolled into one. Never mind the fact that the British Parliament has someone designated “Speaker”. All he does is to recognize House members who wish to speak. The Prime Minister must be recognized above every other person as soon as he or she rises up to speak. The Speaker has no discretion in that regard. It is the British Prime Minister who exercises all the powers currently enjoyed by the Nigerian speaker. The House of Lords (Senate) is simply a decoration intended to give the aristocracy and retired elder statesmen a false sense of importance and relevance.
The Prime Minister is effectively, National President, Speaker, and President of the Senate, rolled into one. To bring home the message clearly, there will be no “Saraki”, no “Dogara”- in that system. Buhari will bestride the Nigerian World, under the parliamentary system being proposed.
The Senate and its President in such a system is an impotent and relatively unimportant body. It can delay, but cannot hold-up legislation. In fact, its opposition to any bill can be overridden by the House under the leadership of the Prime Minister.
So those calling for the re-introduction of the Parliamentary system in the mistaken belief that it will result in a weak Executive Branch should think again. They are foolishly asking for a system in which a powerful Prime Minister will control both the Legislative and the Executive Arms of Government. My advice to them is: ”Beware of what you wish for yourselves”.
Buhari Condemns Killing Of Christian Youths In Gombe
President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed deep sadness over the killings of those Christian youths by the Nigerian policeman who was accused of intentionally ramming his vehicle into them in Gombe while on their Easter Sunday procession.
The president also expressed sadness over the reprisal killing of the law enforcement officials allegedly responsible for the tragic incident.
In a statement on Monday, the president described the violent actions as “very unfortunate,” and extended condolences to the families of the victims. He also wished the injured speedy recovery.
Along with the Christian Association of Nigeria, Gombe chapter, and the state government, the president appealed for calm. He also decried reckless driving, as well as what he called “quick resort to self-help and mob action.”
Nigeria’s Borrowing Remains Relatively Low At 19% – Minister
Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, has said Nigeria’s borrowing still stands at 19 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). She said this level is low compared to debt levels in Ghana, Brazil, South Africa, Egypt and Angola.
The minister also said there is no plan to remove fuel subsidy. She said the International Monetary Fund merely advised the federal government to remove fuel subsidy but assured Nigerians fuel subsidy removal plans are not even being considered at this time.
On the question of the country’s debt level, the minister said Nigeria’s borrowing is still at 19 per cent of GDP. She said this is still within the country’s fiscal responsibility act which allows a maximum of 25 per cent of GDP.
The minister said Nigeria has the lowest level of borrowing compared to other countries.
Sanwo-Olu Expresses Confidence In Election Petition Tribunal
Lagos state governor-elect, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has expressed confidence he will be victorious at the Lagos State gubernatorial electoral petition tribunal.
The governor-elect expressed the optimism when he visited the tribunal to sign responses to two petitions challenging his victory in the march governorship election in Lagos.
His victory is being challenged by chief Owolabi Salis of the Alliance for Democracy, and professor Ifagbemi Awamaridi of the Labour Party.
Sanwo-Olu said the tribunal will find that the challenges to his victory were without merit because Lagosians went out and voted in large numbers and made their choice. With him at the tribunal was deputy governor-elect, Obafemi Hamzat.
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