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It’s Time To Change To Parliamentary System-Onaiyekan

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His Eminence, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, has said the time has come for Nigeria to change to a system of government that will reduce corruption and bring government closer to the people.
The Emeritus Catholic Bishop of Abuja, stated this at a policy dialogue on new governance structure for Nigeria, organised by Abuja School of Social and Political Thought in Abuja.
“It is time for a change. One thing is definitely sure; we cannot continue the way we are going. If we decide to retain the system we have now, it must change the way it is being practised. If the easiest way to change is to change the system, then let’s go ahead and change the system to parliamentary, with all its advantages and disadvantages,” he added.
According to him, anything that will bring the government closer to the people, reduce discretion for stealing and corruption will be good for the nation.
He said, “My understanding is that the parliamentary system is built in such a way that it will not be so easy to steal such humongous sums of money and misuse of our natural resources legally. The problem of this nation is that government people are stealing legally; they do not even feel that they are stealing. According to my own understanding, if you take more than you deserve, you have stolen.’’
Cardinal Onaiyekan cited the provision of pension for governors, saying it was not fair after being  well paid to be legally entitled to houses, cars and other things, while a retired police officer goes home with a meagre sum as pension.
He also said that restructuring, not constitutional amendment will save Nigeria.
The Cardinal said that the Nigerian constitution has consistently failed to provide a clear framework for governance and religious affairs, resulting in confusion and inefficiency within the governance system.
He also advocated decentralisation of power to allow for effective governance and decision-making at the local level.
The Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Mr Kingsley Chinda, an advocate of parliamentary system, said Nigeria needed to move from a system with so much baggage to the one that provides reward and sanctions.
Mr Chinda is one the 60 members of the House of Representatives that introduced three bills seeking to alter the current constitution to parliamentary system of government.
“The presidential system we adopted from US is peculiar to their country, not Nigeria,” he said, adding that the parliamentary would solve most of Nigeria’s problems.
Mr Chinda said that the members that proposed the bill welcome observations and contributions from Nigerians to enrich its content.
A representative of the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, Dr Akin Fapohunda, called for the provision of clearly defined process for the restructuring of the country.
“The bottom line is that we have no process. We are seeing the good but we have not defined the process, milestones and timelines that’s what is missing. We agree that the house is rotten and it needs to be pulled down and we should design an alternative model, which you are now selling,” Mr Fapohunda said.
A Catholic priest, Fr George Ehusani, said integrity is key to nation-building and national prosperity.
Fr Ehusani added that “elite idiocy” would ruin any nation, no matter how perfect its structural blueprint.
The Director of ASSPT, Dr Sam Amadi, argued that the parliamentary system of government was better than the presidential system in Nigeria.
According to him, the parliamentary system is less expensive to run when compared to presidential system, and provides better mechanisms for peer review and accountability.
“Evidence shows across the world that only few countries with presidential system of government are doing well economically,’’ he added.
Dr Amadi said that the school believed it was key to first discuss with critical stockholders before adoption of the parliamentary system of government in Nigeria.
He said that the discussions would be escalated to include different national institutions, religious groups and regions, to agree to a win-win system of government.
“We want to get more people from the North and the South and the East and the West to come together and have them shape issues,’’ Dr Amadi.

 

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Rivers Lawmakers’ Defection, ‘Monkey Politics’-CSO

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Civil Society Coalition for Good Governance, Budget and Accountability has condemned the defection of the 27 members of the Rivers State House of Assembly from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Executive Secretary, Civil Society Coalition for Good Governance, Budget and Accountability, Amb. Emmanuel Nkweke, who said this in an interview with The Tide in Port Harcourt also described as illegal all legislations passed by the defected lawmakers.
Amb. Nkweke described the defection as “monkey politics’, queried the rational behind the action of the lawmakers few months after being sworn into office, adding that members of the civil society community were yet to be told reasons for the defection.
“Up till now, we are yet to be told why they defected just few months of being sworn into office. For me, that is monkey politics”, he said.
He urged the lawmakers to go back to their former party and beg Rivers people for forgiveness, adding that if that is done, they may be welcomed back.
Amb. Nkweke also cautioned the lawmakers not to allow themselves to be used to do the bidding of an individual, adding that the present administration in the state needs the support of all to move forward.
Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of the group has commended Governor Siminalayi Fubara for giving civil societies the latitude to operate freely in the state.
He alleged that civil societies were caged in the last eight years, adding that there was no breathing space for civil societies in the last eight years in the state.
Amb. Nkweke described civil society as the engine room of democracy as it engages in sensitisation on the policies and programmes of government, regretting, however, that their inputs were never taken into considerations.
“Civil societies give signals, civil society creates the awareness and sensitize the people towards achieving a reliable democracy.
‘’i want to let you know, very frankly, that civil society space in Rivers State, for the past eight years, was suffocated. There was no breathing space, they didn’t breathe. Civil society was dead completely”, he said.
Amb. Nkweke said the situation also affected upcoming activists as some of them had to operate from hideouts.

By: John Bibor

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Sack Incompetent Officials In Your Govt, NANS Urges Tinubu

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The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has called on President Bola Tinubu not to condone incompetent personalities in his government.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja, NANS President, Comrade Pedro Obi, expressed concerns about the competence of the Minister of State for Youth Development and the SSA to the President on Student Engagement.
Comrade Obi, after staging a peaceful protest at the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), reiterated that the NANS will not be intimidated and will continue to fight for the interests of Nigerian students.
He said, “The message is very simple, we have incompetent people who have been appointed to offices. It’s unfortunate and it’s not the President’s fault, of course he believes in Nigerian youths and has also given us the opportunity to showcase our capacity in various roles that he has given us.
“We have the SSA to the President on Student Engagement, who has shown incompetence. He cannot continue to hold that office and we are calling on Mr. President that he should be sacked with immediate effect.
“Also we have the Minister of State for Youth Development. We are also calling that immediately he should be sacked, because he has left what he ought to do and has dabbled into the affairs of NANS.
“These people have displayed incompetence and are destroying the youth community. There are so many competent youths that President Tinubu can pick from.
“NANS can never be intimidated. This is an organisation that we grew up to meet and we will continue to protect the dignity of this organisation.”
Receiving the NANS on behalf of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume, the Permanent Secretary, General Services Office in the SGF, Dr. Maurice Nnamdi Mbaeri, assured the NANS of relaying back their complaints to the SGF which he said will land on the listening ears of President Tinubu.
According to him, “I have listened to the complaints you raised. I assure you that your complaints will get to the listening ears of Mr. President.
“Let me assure you that I’m happy this was also re-echoed in the NANS President’s speech that President Tinubu has indebt love for the youths of Nigeria and also for the students of Nigeria. This has been demonstrated by polices that (has) been put in place for the youths.
“I want to assure you that the President has your concerns in his heart and he’s always ever ready to attend to your needs.
“With this, I am going to report back to my boss the SGF, who will take up the matter with the President. I urge you to continue to maintain peace and tranquillity. Don’t do anything that will make Mr. President feel bad about you.”

 

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Ayu Withdraws Case Against PDP Ahead NEC Meeting 

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Former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Iyiorchia Ayu, has withdrawn the court action he instituted against the party over his controversial removal from office barely two years into his four year  term.
His action has removed legal impediments likely to militate against the emergence of his replacement from the North Central.
Several meetings have been held and being planned following this new development.
On Tuesday, the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) passed a vote of confidence on the Ag. National Chairnan, Amb. Umar Damagum, whom members said has discharged his functions creditably.
It was gathered that the North Central Caucus of the party had long before now started mobilizing to ensure that the zone produces Ayu’s replacement to complete his tenure which expires in 2025.
In a related development, Amb. Damagum has held series of meetings with various groups to perhaps shore up his chances of retaining his seat as acting chairman.
He led the members of the NWC on Wednesday to interact with the PDP National Ex-officio ahead of the NEC meeting.
Immediately after the meeting with them, he led the NWC members to another meeting with the State Party Chairmen from the 36 States, including FCT, Abuja.
The meetings were  held at the NEC Hall, PDP National Secretariat at Wadata Plaza, Wuse Zone 5, in Abuja.

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