Friday Olokor, Abuja
A former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ghali Umar Na’Abba, on Thursday said that the Federal Government must do more to deregulate politics with a view to expanding the economy of Nigeria.
According to him, Nigeria, as a country, never had a perfect constitution, adding that it was always work in progress.
He said it was important for Nigerians to conduct themselves nationally in an orderly manner.
Na’Abba stated this at the Maitama Sule Leadership Lecture Series, with the theme: “Constitution, constitutionalism and the future of Nigeria”, organised by the Students wing of the Coalition of Northern Group at the Nasarawa State University, Keffi.
He said Nigerian politics ‘must be deregulated because you cannot expand an economy without deregulating politics and this deregulation comes in the form of the control that political parties have been subjected to by the governors in the states.”
Na’Abba said, “The economy has not grown and social mobility has become impossible, therefore, we must expand the usage of our forces. We must deregulate politics because that will now release economic potential for the benefit of Nigerians.
“I believe what the National Assembly proposed that there must be direct primaries to select party candidates; the proposal must be assented to by the President no matter the cost.
“I believe we need good leadership, the imperative of good leadership is much higher than the cost involved and this is not a sum that the Federal Government could not afford.
“If the Federal Government can afford to dish out what they call conditional cash transfers to individuals, I think, they can as well fund direct primary election.”
He however, told the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd ), to assent to the bill saying that Nigerians had a pulse.
“I don’t think it will augur well for the country if Nigeria’s democracy continues to be held to ransom by our governments” , he said, and commended the CNG for mentoring youths.
Delivering his paper at the lecture, a legal practitioner, Muzammil Yahaya, said, “the removal of fuel subsidy has to be looked at from various dimensions; in as much as I see it as a necessity, at the same time, it’s the wrong time for the policy, Nigerians can believe and trust the government.
Speaking on democracy, he explained that everyone had to be involved in every decision that had to be considered.
Yahaya said, “I urge the Federal Government to consider more opinions.”
On his part, the spokesperson for the CNG, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, said it was time for the younger generation to “rise, struggle and walk to the places of these leaders who think power is their birthright.”
He said, “You cannot change a system unless you have to be in the system. Gone are the days when our students would be dictated to and they would be decided for by people who have dominated or preferred to use the word to manipulate them.”