60 reps sponsor bill to introduce parliamentary system

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A bill seeking to introduce the parliamentary system of government to the country has passed the first reading at the house of representatives.

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The bill, which is sponsored by 60 lawmakers, was introduced during the plenary on Thursday.

Nigeria currently practices a presidential system of government which allows for a direct election of the president.

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Under the parliamentary system, the legislature appoints a prime minister, with a less defined separation of powers.

The lawmakers said they target 2031 as the year for the transition to the parliamentary system.

Briefing journalists after plenary, the lawmakers said the “imperfections” of the presidential system of government have “become glaring” to all.

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.

“Among these 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 the executive, who are appointees and not directly accountable to the people,” Dasuki said.

The lawmakers said they expect the bill to ignite, and provoke a national conversation about the future of the Nigerian governance system.

“To ensure robust public debates, stakeholder consultations, expert analyses, and a thorough and informed decision-making process, raise awareness about this significant development and encourage constructive dialogue on the potential implications of these proposed constitutional alterations,” they said.

“Our conviction is that a streamlined executive branch, which 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.

“We also hold strongly that shifting the election of governors and local government chairmen from the general election to votes within their respective legislative bodies could save billions spent on state and nationwide campaigns.”

A similar bill was sponsored in 2018 but did not scale through in the constitutional amendment process at the time.

 

 

 

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