By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
Participants at a colloquium organized at the weekend in Abuja by the Haske Foundation has faulted the presidential system of government being practiced in Nigeria, claiming that the political system is very expensive for a poor and developing country like Nigeria.
Speaking to journalists after the event, the Founder of the Haske Foundation, Kudla Satumari, had said the motto of Nigeria ‘Unity, Peace and Progress’, was chosen as a theme of the Colloquium to discuss the problems afflicting the country and finding lasting solutions to them.
He said the colloquium was set in motion to bring people from different ethnic diversity to meet and exchange ideas, adding that the Foundation and the colloquium is part of the strategy to bring peace in the troubled region of the north east.
He regretted that the north east has been in crisis since the past decade, adding that with Boko Haram insurgency and banditry in the region, peace has eluded the zone, hence the need for the colloquium to discuss way out of the security quagmire in the north east region and Nigeria generally.
Also speaking at the event, former senate leader in the 8th session of the National Assembly, Ali Ndume, condemned the presidential system of government being practiced in Nigeria, saying it confers enormous powers on one individual which, according to him, is prone to abuses.
Ndume said the presidential system of government places unlimited powers on the center and making other constituent units dependent on the federal government.
He said the Presidential System of government is too costly for a country like Nigeria to run , the very reason good governance has been eluding the country since 1999.
According to Ndume, the parliamentary system of government would serve the better interest of the diversity of Nigeria, but regretted that it had been tried but filed before the adoption of the presidential system.
“Parliamentary system of government would have been better in terms of good governance for the citizenry as experienced in the first republic.
“Presidential system of government as being practiced since 1999 through constitutional provisions , makes democracy too costly in Nigeria, governance centralized and politicians in tight corner of between what is good and what is bad.
“If I have the opportunity of coming back to this world and particularly Nigeria , I will not be a politician because being a politician in Nigeria is like testing positive to HIV with consequences of knowing how to live with it”, he said.
In their paper presentations at the Colloquium, the former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani – Kayode, former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, Obadiah Mailafia and Senior Fellow, Centre for Democracy and Development, Professor Jibril Ibrahim, blamed the 1999 constitution for the woes of the country within the last 20 years and called for a new Constitution that will make Nigeria, a federal State in letter, spirit and practice.
Specifically, Mailafa in his submissions said “though as clearly stated in the motto of the country, Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress are what we need in the county but due to self – inflicted systemic dysfunctions , none of the four has been achieved and can be achieved with the dysfunctional problems which had killed the Nigeria of our dream.
“The very reason we need to address the defective system by way of making Nigeria a federation in the true sense of the concept which can never be achieved under the present constitution that foisted a Unitarised federation on Nigerians.
“The 1999 constitution must be reengineered and the country must be restructured for good governance to take place, anchored on national productivity, equity, justice and Peace”.
Similarly Professor Jibril Ibrahim in his submission said for peace to reign in Nigeria and by extension, growth and development, there must be justice.
According to him, the 1999 constitution going by provisions of the third schedule, encourages sharing and distribution as against contribution, driven by productivity from the bottom to the top as obtainable in other federations of the world.
“There is injustice in the land as against justice, violence as against peace, insecurity as against security, all translating into bad governance as against good governance.
“The Nigeria system is not working for the good of Nigerians and must be critically looked into by way of develooment- driven and workable constitution”, he said.
Fani – Kayode in his own presentation, warned that if the orgy of violence and by extension, blood letting in the country is not curtailed by government at all levels, struggle for self determination by the affected peoples may take the centre stage in no distant time which according to him , may be difficult for the already disunited country to curtail.