Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has advised that Nigeria should urgently return to a parliamentary system of government.
The governor said the system remained a more cost-effective democratic alternative and should be re-adopted by Nigeria.
Nigeria practiced the system after it gained independence from Britain in 1960.
Speaking in Makurdi while inaugurating the Benue State Constitution Review Committee headed by the former state Chief Judge, Adam Onum, on Thursday, Ortom argued that the parliamentary system of government provides opportunities for power-sharing such that smaller parties also participate in governance.
“It is also considerably less complex.
“The Federal Government should have a subsidiary function. This means that it should perform only those tasks that cannot be performed at a more local level.
“The current practice in which the Federal Government has constitutional powers in nearly 100 per cent performance while the states and the local government areas are only able to function in 30 percent or less of these areas is a distortion of the spirit and practice of federalism.
“We need the constitution to set out a system which the various tiers of government can simultaneously engage in the types of relationships
that are common to all functional federations by specifying the areas in which the tiers have autonomy, areas in which the need to cooperate, areas where the relationship is supervisory and areas where power is shared,” Ortom said.
He also said that to further strengthen the rule of law and promote accountability, “Nigeria needs to separate the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) from that of the Minister of Justice.”
According to the governor, it was also necessary that the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation be separated from that of the Accountant-General of the Federal Government.
He said, “We need to institutionalise a framework for conflict resolution that proactively provides for how disputes about autonomy, cooperation, supervision and power sharing will be resolved.
“We will need to establish a Constitutional Court to support the Supreme Court in settling disputes between the levels of government as a court of first and last resort.
“The country also need an Inter-Governmental Relations Council with a mandate to undertake the tasks set out in the paragraphs above.”
Meanwhile, the State Constitution Review Committee is saddled with the task to prepare a memorandum on gender equality, federal structure and power devolution, local government autonomy, public revenue, fiscal federation, and revenue allocation.
They are also to review Nigeria Police and Nigerian security architecture, comprehensive judicial reforms, electoral reforms to strengthen the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), for transparent, credible, free, and fair elections.
The state committee, among other things, is also expected to submit proposals on state creation, residency and indigene provisions, immunity, the National Assembly, socio-economic and cultural rights as contained in chapter two of the constitution.
To serve as the committee’s secretary and assistant secretary are the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) and Attorney-General of the state respectively.
In his remarks at the event, the committee chairman, Onum assured that the assignment would be completed on time.
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