Nigeria: 71 Reps Want Parliamentary System

Aso Villa, presidential residence, National Assembly, right
14 December 2018

A group of 71 lawmakers of the House of Representatives, mostly from the opposition PDP have canvassed for the return of Nigeria to the parliamentary system of government.

Briefing newsmen at the National Assembly in Abuja, yesterday, spokesmen of the group, Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers) and Nicholas Ossai (PDP, Delta), said the parliamentary system, as opposed to the presidential system, suited Nigeria because it was more friendly, cost effective and largely efficient in the conduct of government business.

Reading from the 'Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Alteration) Bill, 2018,' the lawmakers lamented that whereas countries under the parliamentary system were prospering, the presidential system had "reduced Nigeria to the poverty capital of the world."

"We are 71 bipartisan members of the House of Representatives who feel that the parliamentary system of government promulgated by the Littleton Constitution of 1954 is the best for Nigeria since the presidential system has reduced us to the poverty capital of the world," they said.

"Our position in this legislation clearly points to compelling advantages of parliamentary system of government, such as economic growth and development, as well as inherent efficiency in the conduct of government business.

"Studies have shown that countries under the presidential regime consistently produce lower output, volatile inflation and greater income inequality relative to those under parliamentary system," the group also said.

However, their call came just few months to the expiration of the legislative life of the 8th Assembly, thus raising concern over the period required to push the bill through the normal legislative process.

The bill, if passed, will also require the assent of President Muhammadu Buhari to become law and be enshrined in the constitution.

Nigeria had practised the British-styled parliamentary system of government in the First Republic that lasted between 1960 and 15 January, 1966 when the military took power.

However, the 1979 Constitution returned the country to the US-styled presidential system of government.

Aside Ossai, other members of the group present at the briefing included Abdulsamad Dasuki (PDP, Sokoto), Boma Goodhead (PDP, Rivers), Timothy Golu (PDP, Plateau), Gabriel Onyenwife (PDP, Anambra), Sergius Ogun (PDP, Edo), Emeka Ujam (PDP, Enugu) among others.

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