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The pros of a parliamentary system

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The pros of a parliamentary system

Mark Adebayo

Published By: Paul Dada

By Mark Adebayo

  • Parliamentary System: To be or not to be?
  • Parliamentary System: To be or not to be

“The war of ideas is a Greek invention. It is one of the most important inventions ever made. Indeed, the possibility of fighting with with words and ideas instead of fighting with swords is the very basis of our civilization, and especially of all its legal and parliamentary institutions.”                       – Karl Popper LATELY, there have been individuals and groups who have started advocating that Nigeria revert to the parliamentary system of government as obtained in the first Republic. This is a distinct advocacy from restructuring and national conference which have predominated our national discourses in the last decade or thereabouts. One of the greatest advantages of the  Westminster system is its robust culture of debate and clarity of policy. Unlike the presidential system, the head of government, the Prime Minister, is in parliament daily to defend every action of his office and policies emanating therefrom. He is constantly put on the spot by fellow parliamentarians to explain, analyze, extrapolate and articulate every policy element of his government and the benefits accruable to the nation and its people. He is under permanent scrutiny – his opinions, his choice of words, his travels, who he chooses to be with, his expenditures, his foibles and everything about him and the government he leads are all subjects of interrogation on the floor of the parliament. He is the proverbial golden fish that has no hiding places. Unlike the brand of presidential system that is practiced in Nigeria in which the President is only obligated by law to present the country’s annual appropriation Bill before a joint sitting of the Senate and the House of Representatives once a year, he may not appear before the National Assembly until another financial year. Not so in a parliamentary system. The Prime Minister must be seen and heard and questioned everyday of parliamentary sitting which puts the people in the know of what is transpiring in their government and they have direct access to their representatives to influence policy direction and outcomes unlike the presidential system where the president is a mini god of sort that most government institutions are beholden to. If Nigeria were to be operating a parliamentary system, some of those who have emerged as president in this country wouldn’t have even neared the seat of power. It’s easy to recall that some presidential candidates in this country have shunned public debates prior to the elections. Buhari did and Tinubu did, too. Many Nigerians suspect that any presidential or governorship candidate running away from public debate is exactly hiding his intellectual incapacity. In a parliamentary system, debate is the life blood of democracy. However,  in Western democracies, debate is an integral element of presidential system especially during electioneering periods. It is not a matter of choice, it is a compulsory requirement that presidential candidates square it out in the public domain for the electorate to judge and determine who can best serve their interests unlike Nigeria where a presidential candidate can cowardly evade well constituted debate platforms simply to avoid being critically assessed on the basis of capacity and soundless of mind. In a parliamentary system, pre-election you have to debate. During election, you must debate. After election and you win, you must debate throughout your tenure. You may or may not run the course of your tenure on the basis of debate. If you lose a debate, you may be pressured to step down for another to take your seat as Prime Minister. Every action or proposed action of the Prime Minister must be debated, approved or disproved before anything can happen. Oftentimes, the Prime Minister and most, if not all his ministers, are members of the parliament. Therefore, aside from the Prime Minister, all government ministers are put on the spot to explain their actions to the public. There is a little bit of tyranny in a presidential system that is patently absent in the Westminster system. Moreover, it goes without saying that the presidential system is far more expensive than the parliamentary system. I’m of the opinion that a presidential system is one brand of democracy that Nigeria or any African country cannot afford because it robs us of crucial development thrusts. Most of the critical funds that should be invested in socioeconomic developments are channeled into funding overbloated government workforce of ministers and an endless lists of aides, advisers, special advisers, senior special assistants, personal assistants, personal assistants to personal assistants and so forth.  Nigeria cannot afford such grand wastage, but here we are. The debate to revert to a parliamentary system as it was in the first Republic is worth our full consideration so that we can elect people into office whose capacity we know beforehand so as to avoid a buyer’s remorse as it is often the case after elections in Nigeria and to significantly cut the costs of  governance. We must expect stiff resistance by the operators of the current system, no doubt. But we must be determined to keep the pressure on until this is achieved same way we must continue to remain unequivocal in demanding for a Sovereign National Conference that would produce a comprehensive restructuring of Nigeria. We must reject the argument of parliamentary cretinism usually advanced by Marxists who cannot even defend the fundamental integrity of their ideological profiles. Chicken Consumption Tips: A Guide to Safe and Healthy Eating Habits Mixer-magazin | Sponsored Hurtownia niesprzedanych laptopów: ceny Cię zaskoczą Laptopy | Sponsored Potężna broń na grzybicę. 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