NASS LEADERSHIP: Tony Mommoh warns APC against imposition

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A chieftain of All Progressives Congress, APC, Prince Tony Mommoh has cautioned the ruling party against imposing leaders on the National Assembly.

Momoh, a former national chairman of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, gave the warning while speaking with journalists in Abuja as part of events to mark his 80th birthday.

According to him, the much touted party supremacy by the APC could only be effective under the parliamentary system of government, where the party with majority forms the government, adding that lawmakers in the country had always resisted efforts at imposing leaders on them since 1999.

Momoh said: “The National Assembly has its own personality that it protects despite party differences. It has always been so since 1999. There has been no effective party supremacy.

“Party supremacy cannot be effective in the presidential system because it stands alone. It can only succeed if there is cooperation, not by imposition.

“In 1999 Evan Enwerem was not the choice of the senators. They wanted Chuba Okadigbo. So, Enwerem did not last when he emerged. Also in 2015, the party wanted Femi Gbajabiamila but Yakubu Dogara got it.

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“Since 1999 there have always been problems between the legislators and the party candidates. The legislators come together to pursue common interests and party supremacy is obviously not one of them.

“In the parliamentary system the party with the majority will dominate leadership positions in the legislature. The prime minister is also a member of the parliament.”

Mommoh, who lamented the nation’s political structure, advocated political restructuring as a way of ensuring good governance in the country.

He said: “Nigeria is too top-heavy in administering governance and we need to decongest the political space. The National Assembly makes law in 93 areas comprising the exclusive and concurrent lists.

“In federations worldwide, we don’t need more than 18. The rest should go to regions; they know what to do with them.

“The Senate will become the only lawmaking arm of the federation while the House of Representatives should go to the regions and be making laws for their people. When this happens, economic deregulation is automatic because everybody will contribute to run the centre.

“We have experienced the parliamentary system and we are experiencing a presidential system of government.”

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Timothy Enietan-Matthews

Timothy is a versatile journalist, down to earth with a critical and curious mind.

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