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Why Nigeria must opt for modified presidency

By Ayodele Fagbohun

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It is imperative that the current presidential system of government should be urgently reviewed and improved upon to avert atrophy implosion and imminent collapse staring the nation tantalizingly in the face.

Presidential system as being practiced in the country is laid with gross abuse, mis-use, mis-utilisation and reckless, miss-application of scarce public funds and natural resources for undesirable and unedifying ends.

It gulps the lion share of national earnings which has done and still inflicting incalculable more harm than good on the fragile economy and the material well-being of the vast majority of the people.

The personal emoluments allotted to all political office holders across the country are, not only outlandish, unprecedented but too outrageous and scandalous, and to say the least, mind-boggling and revolting when compared to the peanuts grudgingly dole out to civil servants serving and retired and the abject poverty and squalor pervading the nation.

What is more, there is wanton and criminal neglect of public utilities and infrastructure like roads, public health, education; access to portable water and electricity supplies as social service to put smile and contentment on the people traumatized by hunger, want and superstition.

Yet some political functionaries including their protégés in the civil service are ensconced in their closets to perpetrate financial malfeasance and scandalous atrocities with hideous cruelty and impunity on the national coffers.

Whereas in the First Republic when the nation was practicing parliamentary democracy, there was conscious effort to ensure effective and efficient management of the aforementioned social services.  The infrastructure were working in full capacity and maintenance in the place to rejig the machinery of government in top form and served the overall best interest of the country.

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To halt the obnoxious and extravagant malady in the running of government activities, this writer makes bold to subscribe to presidential mode of government with some innovations to discourage profligacy and undue ostentation; and cut huge financial waste in public administration which is the nemesis of our people.

This will foster good and sane governance and promote harmonious relationship in the polity.

At the apex of government in the federation, the post of president should be dual viz.  The head of state and head of government should be occupied by two persons.  This will go a long way in demystifying the almost power of life and death, alfa and omega clothed our president.

The enormous power seemingly enjoyed by Mr President is often overwhelmed with abuse leading to stagnation, ineptitude and paralysis of onerous governmental activities.

It stands to reason that the post of head of state should be advisory and purely ceremonial receiving letters of credence from foreign ambassadors, envoys visiting head of state, and august visitors attending public functions and ceremonies amongst other vital roles be allotted to the office.

The office of head of state should be occupied by an experienced politician or elder-stateman  imbued with aura of kudos as father-of-nation to unite, unify all ethnic groups and diverse interests in the country.

As the office of head of state reserve for and to honour experienced elderstateman, the salary or pension attached shall be so meager and paltry not to threaten public expenditure.

The post of head of government should be styled prime minister of vice-president.  The nomenclature is not important.  What is important and crucial is that the post should be occupied by aspiring or active politician sponsored by a country wide registered political parties whose mandate is to solicit votes across the length and breadth of the country for a specific term in office.

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He has the whole country as his constituency.  Virtually there is no time to indulge in any state festivals or junketings round the globe, if he and his political party desire to make an impact on the welfare and well-being of the electorate.  He is to concentrate fully on how execute his programmes to benefit the people and go to the country as provided by the constitution.

The headship of every constituent state should remain as Governor and be assisted by Deputy Governor.  The functions and roles assigned for head of government in the presidency is quite coterminous with its counterpart in every constituent state in the federation save for defence, foreign and monetary affairs exclusively the preserve of the federal government.

Experience shows that, it is precarious and indeed superfluous for the nation to retain and run bi-camera legislative as presently constituted in Nigeria.  If the nation must survive from her iniquitous and frivolous expenses incurred on the National Assembly.

It is high time to retain unicameral legislature and quickly opt for House of Representatives elected by adult suffrage.

It is criminal folly, indulgence, brigandage; act of prodigality; lawlessness and license in the leadership of National Assembly to hold the national economy prostrate in the name of separation of power which confers nebulous power on them.

It is licence to be an army of occupation and to preside over the liquidation of our economy and patrimony.

States remain the federating units where powers are derived by the local government council areas.  It stands to reason that our constituent states should be properly constituted and constitutionally arranged to perform the statutory functions allotted to them.

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To tell the home truth and face the stark reality, some states have to coalesce by all means and revert to original base.

We must not lose the sight that the states created by the military fiat were devoid of any principle standing rule.  We must eschew all this fraud and stratagems; and move the nation speedily on the path of probity and rectitude.

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