60 Nigeria Lawmakers presents Bill seeks to change presidential to parliamentary system of govt

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By Joy Odor

60 Nigeria Members of the House of Representatives have on Wednesday presented a Bill that seeks the replacement of the current Presidential system of government to Parliamentary system of government.

The Bill named parliamentary bill is sponsored by the 60 lawmakers across Party lines is sequel to the imperfections of the Presidential system of government, have become glaring despite the alterations of the constitution over the years.

This is even as the House introduced three Bills, seeking to alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 to allow transition from the current presidential system to a parliamentary system at all levels of government – federal, state, and local government.

The Bills, namely ‘Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Alteration) Bill, 2024’, HB.1115, HB.1116 and HB.1117 sponsored by Hon. Kingsley Chinda, the Minority Leader and 59 others, passed through the First Reading at plenary on Wednesday.

Briefing the Journalists on the general principles of the Bills at the National Assembly Complex Abuja, the Spokesman of the sponsors of the Parliamentary Bill, Abdussamad Dasuki, said the bill will make government accountable, responsible and responsive.

The Spokesman, a lawmaker from Sokoto State, who explained that the cost of running presidential system is too expensive and the powers vested on the executives is too strong, noted that the Parliamentary Bill will consider the interest of the nation above all interest.

Dasuki, stressed that the Parliamentary system which will streamline Executive Branch, that replaces the President and Vice President with a Prime Minister and Cabinet chosen from the legislature could lead to a smaller central government, reducing salaries and administrative expenses.

Dasuki said when the parliamentary system of government was practised in the First Republic, it worked for the country as by its nature the elected representatives that were both in the legislative and executive arms of government were accountable to the people.

He argued the collapse of the First Republic and the long stretch of military rule culminated in the adoption of a new system of government, theoretically fashioned after the Presidential System of the United States but in practice imbibed the uttermost attributes of military rule.

The lawmaker said the high cost of governance, leaving fewer resources for crucial areas like infrastructure, education, and healthcare, and consequently hindering the nation’s development progress, and the excessive powers vested in the members of executive were the imperfections of the presidential system of government.

“The Bills presented today seek a return to the system of government adopted by our founders, which made governance accountable, responsible and responsive, and ultimately less expensive.

“With the presentation of these Bills today, we hope to achieve the following: Ignite, provoke a national conversation about the future of Nigerian governance system.

“Imperfections are the high cost of governance, leaving fewer resources for crucial areas like infrastructure, education, and healthcare, and consequently hindering the nation’s development progress, and the excessive powers vested in the members of executive, who are appointees and not directly accountable to the people”

“There is a greater coordination between the executive and the legislature, just as there will be increased legislative scrutiny, which would make cabinet members responsive to the yearnings of the people and more accountable.

“The proponents of these alterations to the constitution for a parliamentary system of government have placed the interest of our nation above all other interests. Our hope is that the national conversation that would be ignited by these bills would lead to a system of government that works and our dear nation would attain her full potentials” he stressed.

The proposed legislations sought to
replace the President with a Prime Minister to serve as the Head of Government and establishing the office of the President as a ceremonial leader with the elective offices chosen from the elected members of the legislature.

It also intends to shift the process of electing Governors and Chairmen of Local Governments from general election to voting within their respective legislative bodies, and reduce bureaucratic hurdles and fostering closer collaboration between the executive and legislative branches of government.

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