Obasanjo Warns of Potential Shortcomings Associated With Parliamentary System

Obasanjo Warns of Potential Shortcomings Associated With Parliamentary System

  • Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has raised concerns over the agitation for Nigeria to return to the parliamentary system of government
  • Obasanjo revealed that the parliamentary system comes with challenges that don't suit the current dispensation of Nigeria
  • He, however, acknowledged that Nigeria's 24 years of practising the presidential system has not been sufficient either

Legit.ng journalist Segun Adeyemi has over 9 years of experience covering political events, civil societies, courts, and metro

Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo warned against the clamour for a shift from the current presidential system to a parliamentary one, highlighting the complexities associated with parliamentary governance.

Drawing on his extensive experience leading Nigeria as a military ruler and a civilian president, Obasanjo emphasised the importance of understanding the nuances of governance systems.

Nigeria in the pre-democratic era practised the parliamentary system of government
Obasanjo rolled out the challenges attached to the adoption of a parliamentary system of government. Photo Credit: Riccardo Savi
Source: Getty Images

The ex-president clarified his stance during a public event where he was a distinguished guest for the unveiling of Umar Ardo's book "Court and Politics."

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Ardo, who ran for governor under the Social Democratic Party in Adamawa State during the 2023 elections, hosted the event.

Obasanjo addressed a point made by Ango Abdullahi, a member of the Northern Elders Forum and former vice chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, advocating for a return to the parliamentary system.

Abdullahi expressed support for recent efforts by lawmakers to transition Nigeria back to a parliamentary democracy.

Presidential system hasn't been sufficient - Obasanjo

The ex-military leader, represented by former Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu, argued that Nigeria's experience with the presidential system over 24 years hasn't been sufficient.

He emphasised the need to transfer power and resources from the federal government to state and local governments.

As quoted by Punch, he said:

“To bring it back home, no matter what you bring, if the political culture is not there—the same attitude, the same people, the same ways of doing things—we are wasting our time.

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"The second issue is that you imported the parliamentary system in 1960 without the requisite political culture to hold it.
“Now you imported the presidential system, and I have heard people say to bring back the parliamentary system again.
“Anybody who remembers the coup of 1966 will associate that coup with the elections of 1965, leading to the killing and murdering of people in the name of politics. No matter what you bring and no matter what you import, if the political culture is not there, it will not work.”

He attributed Nigeria's current economic challenges to inadequate resource management and low productivity among its citizens. Additionally, the former president criticised Abdullahi's statement about the North's failure to support its people.

He emphasised that leaders, rather than the populace, bear responsibility for the region's lack of progress.

He said:

“Don’t say northern Nigeria failed when you produce somebody who does not know what to do. We should be blaming those people.”

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No system of govt can work in Nigeria, if only... - Dr Abubakar

Reacting to Obasanjo's position, public affairs analyst Dr Abubakar Sani said no system of government can work in Nigeria.

He stated that the only remedy to a working political system is when the country has decided to conduct a free and fair election.

In a chat with Legit.ng, he said:

"Honestly, the problem with Nigeria is not the American presidential system, although the French presidential system could have been better.
"Those who are clamouring for parliamentary systems must know that as long as systemic and endemic corruption and misappropriation of public funds continue, no system will work in Nigeria.
"How come the presidential system is working in both America and France? What we need in Nigeria is free and fair elections that will reflect the will of the people.
"After that, we need all those who were elected to provide good governance, governance with accountability, efficiency, and fairness to all Nigerians. This is another distraction."

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Obasanjo calls for devolution of power

Obasanjo has revealed what President Bola Tinubu's administration needs to alleviate the ongoing economic hardship.

Obasanjo said the economic hardship is caused by the mismanagement of resources and lack of productivity among Nigerians.

He urged Tinubu's administration to devolve power and resources from the federal government to state and local governments.

Source: Legit.ng

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