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60 Representatives Unite to Push Bill for Parliamentary System, Aiming for 2031 Rollout

February 14, 2024

 

 

 

 

 

 

A groundbreaking bill aiming to introduce a parliamentary system of government in Nigeria has successfully passed its initial reading in the House of Representatives. Sponsored by a coalition of 60 lawmakers, the bill was formally introduced during Thursday’s plenary session.

Nigeria, presently governed under a presidential system, where the president is directly elected, may soon undergo a significant shift if the parliamentary system is adopted. Unlike the current system, where the president holds extensive executive powers, under the proposed parliamentary setup, a prime minister would be appointed by the legislature, blurring the lines of separation of powers.

The legislators behind the bill emphasized their vision for a transition to the parliamentary model by 2031, citing concerns over the inefficiencies and limitations of the existing presidential system.

Abdulsamad Dasuki, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) member from Sokoto, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, said the presidential system has “denied the nation the opportunity” of attaining its full potential. He highlighted issues such as the high cost of governance and the concentration of power in the executive branch, which they believe hinder Nigeria’s progress.

The lawmakers anticipate that the bill will spark a national discourse on the country’s governance structure. They emphasized the need for robust public debates, stakeholder consultations, and expert analyses to inform decision-making and raise awareness about the proposed constitutional changes.

Central to their argument is the belief that transitioning to a parliamentary system could lead to a leaner government, reducing administrative expenses and empowering the legislative branch. They also propose shifting the election of governors and local government chairmen to votes within their respective legislative bodies, potentially saving significant campaign expenses.

While a similar bill failed to pass through the constitutional amendment process in 2018, the current momentum suggests a renewed effort to reshape Nigeria’s governance landscape.

 

Credit: TheCable

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