Two developments last week and the need to throw light on the issues raised to show what I consider the best way to prevent the country from breaking up, accelerate its development and growth, and to enhance and make President Muhammadu Buhari’s war against corruption a huge success and permanent legacy is why I am coming out with this. The first matter was the statement on a Television Continental (TVC) interview programme I watched on Friday in which a Senator from Borno State who, I believe is Alhaji Ali Ndume of the All Progressives Congress (APC), said Nigeria should have part – time legislators instead of full – time ones.
The remarkable thing about his comment is that he was not asked a question to this effect, he came up with it in answering a different one put across to him. I am indeed happy that a Nigerian legislator could be honest to admit that we do not need full-time parliamentarians to run the country in a system that has proved too expensive and very wasteful of our resources.
Although he did not say whether or not we should return the presidential system or revert to the parliamentary order of the colonial period and the First Republic, I believe part – time legislating can be practiced under the two systems. But I prefer the parliamentary because the Prime Minister who is the chief executive power in government will not be elected by the whole country as in the type of costly presidential system we have now. But by only his or her constituency which is about a senatorial district or less, and which will reduce the amount to be spent for an election. Which has largely been responsible for rampant and upscale corruption as people have to recoup.
I will later come to the advantages of having part – time legislators and the parliamentary system, but this will be after discussing the second issue which got me into writing this piece. Which was the protest march to the National Assembly in Abuja on Thursday by a crowd of pro – Buhari supporters put at thousands who are against restructuring the country. They believe people have come up with the idea in order to terminate Buhari’s presidency because of his anti –corruption war. Since to them once restructuring is accepted the federal and state legislatures have to be dissolved and new elections held.
I believe Buhari’s supporters protested because Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Vice – President during Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s presidency (1999 – 2007) is one of those now promoting the restructuring of the country. Since he contested the presidential primaries of the APC with Buhari last year, they now see his present position as wanting to exploit the current unpopularity of the president to promote himself for the 2019 poll.
But this is a wrong notion. Even if two – thirds of the members of the National Assembly and those in 24 of the 36 states today approve the restructuring of the country and a return to the parliamentary system and amend the constitution to that effect this month or the next one, their decision cannot take effect until 2019 after the tenure of President Buhari, the governors and all the legislatures in the country. This is because they were elected for a four – year tenure and they have to complete their term.
Let me bring this home by citing the United States Amendment 22 which limited American presidents to two terms which was proclaimed on Thursday March 1, 1951. The article made it clear that the new order shall not apply to anyone holding the office of President or acting President when the law came into effect. As a result, President Harry Truman who completed the three years and nine months (April 1945 – March 1949), remaining of the fourth term of President Franklin Roosevelt who died on Thursday, April 12, 1945, and was into the third year of his first term (1949 – 53), was allowed to seek re – election in 1952 for his second tenure. But he chose not to contest. So, if the constitution is amended this year and the country is restructured from 36 states to six or eight regions and from presidential to parliamentary system, President Buhari, the State Governors and the members of the National Assembly and all the State Assemblies will complete their present four – year term in 2018 or 2019, as the case may be.
To be continued next week Wednesday
Igbo, Hausa & Fulani, not Yoruba, are Nigeria’s problem (9)
I now come to the reason given by many Igbo and some people from other ethnic groups in the South – South, that is Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta and Edo States, for why the Yorubas of the South – West are the country’s problem. Which is that during the civil war (July 6, 1967 – January 13, 1970) they teamed up with northerners to fight against fellow southerners in the Eastern Region. And that last year they voted for General Muhammadu Buhari, a Fulani from the North – West to unseat Bayelsa State – born President Goodluck Jonathan, a fellow from southerner.
Of course, this is a laughable accusation that shows that the people who made them were either too young to know the facts of Nigeria’s history in the 1960s and 70s or that they do so because they are tribalistic or jealous of the Yorubas for the reason or reasons known to them. And what a pity that history, including that of Nigeria had ceased to be a subject taught in institutions of learning for over 30 years now!
Any objective person who is now 70 years of age was 14 years in 1960 when the country became independent and therefore old enough to know that from that year through 1966 that the National Council of Nigerian Citizens (NCNC), a party made up of 70% of Igbos and led by Igbo – born duo of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe (from 1944 – 60) and by Dr. Michael Okpara from 1960 – 66), was in alliance with the Northern Peoples Congress (NPC), which was overwhelmingly dominated by the Hausas and Fulanis, led by Sokoto – born Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Premier of Northern Region. In the Federal Government they formed in 1960 Dr. Azikiwe was Head of State, albeit a ceremonial one, with Fulani – born Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa from Bauchi as Prime Minister and Head of Government with executive power.
For continuation next week