Our position has been known for over twenty years. We produced the yoruba agenda in 1994, we produced another one again in 2004. We said then and we are saying now that the presidential system of government is not in the best interest of this country. We had tried parliamentary system and we’ve tried presidential and we are in position to make an informed choice. The choice we have made is Parliamentary system of government for a number of reasons. First, the Parliamentary system is far cheaper to run than the Presidential. For example, any Nigeria who wants to be president today must raise a minimum of N20billion to N50billion; which means no person, no matter how patriotic, brilliant and committed you may be, who is of modest means can become a president. It is only the super rich or the drug runners or those sponsored by special interest or the international corporations can become president.I’m sure that is not acceptable to most Nigerians. But in Parliamentary system, if you want to be the head of government, you only need to win your whole election in your constituency or villiage. Once you win and your party also has majority in the legislature and you are the leader of your party, you authomatically becomes the head of government.- Prime Minister or President. You have not spent one thousandth of what you will spend under the presidential system.
Secondly, membership of the legislature used to be part-time in the past. That is why we had people like Odebiyi, Ajasin who were Principals of secondary schools and members of House of Assembly and House of Representatives. They had their normal employment, they did not depend on politics to survive.
These are worthy people with worthy contributions. But under Presidential system, they made it full-time. Today, 90 per cent of members in the legislature have no business to be there. They have told us they are businessmen and if you make membership to be part-time tomorrow, most of them will depart, the house will be empty. That is only time when quality and committed people would go into the legislature to ensure proper governance of Nigeria. But under this present system, only the super rich and business people can play politics at any level.
Thirdly, Nigeria with over 400 ethnic and linguistic groups, it unwise to give all powers to one man called President or to one man called governor. But under the Parliamentary system, the Prime Minister or President are members of the legislature. Before they do any major thing, they will have to subject it to debate in the Assembly so that there will be consensus behind that decision. But under the Presidential system, the president or governor just sits in his office and take decision.
The cabinent is arm-twist, nobody can raise any eye-brow agaisnt the governor and regain his seat in the cabinent. So, these are some of the reasons the South-west are committed to the return to the Parliamentary system. Also, we say that we must return to the regional government. The new Western region would face an election of the six Yoruba states, and the people of Kwara and Kogi will in a referendum determine where they want to go or join the western federation.
Then we will have a western federation of seven states. It will be a lot easier to run govenment, your money will do far more for more poeple under that arrangement.
Then there must be massive devolution of powers from the centre to the state or to the region. The federal government will be faced with such jobs as the supreme court, central banking, diplomatic relations, there must be regional police to compliment the federal police force; boundary adjudication. Money will be contributed by the regional government to enable the central government perform these limited functions. And in the new constitution we will propose, there is only one legislative list- that of the federal government (those things that they should do will be listed there) and all other that are not listed belong automatically to the regional or state government. This is kind of position we have taken in our former document and which we propose to push.
Chief Olu Falae