The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, on Saturday, disagreed with the Vice Chancellor, Ahman Pategi University, Patigi, Kwara State, Prof Mahfouz Adedimeji, that the National Assembly runs the most expensive legislative arm in the world.
They expressed their divergent views at the 10th annual symposium of the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria, B-zone, held in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
Adedimeji, who spoke on the theme, ‘Saving a nation on the precipice: between re-federation and secessionism,’ as the guest lecturer at the event attended by the Governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, and other dignitaries, said, “With due respect to the Speaker of House of Representatives, Nigeria spends the highest amount of money on legislators in the world and the National Assembly consumes more money than any other parliament in the world.
“A unicameral legislature with two representatives from each state is sufficient. The National Assembly should have less than 100 members.”
While cautioning against calls for the disintegration of the country, he said he shared the informed view of former President Olusegun Obasanjo that it is ‘idiotic’ to call for the disintegration of Nigeria at a time the world is integrating.
Adedimeji said the current political structure required some restructuring, adding that to save Nigeria from the brink of the precipice, Nigerians should remain united.
He, however, added that there was the need to reintroduce geographical governments represented by a premier in each zone to be elected by the governors of the states.
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But Gbajabiamila, in his remarks, disagreed with the guest lecturer, saying it was a wrong perception that Nigeria operates an expensive legislature
The Speaker, who was represented by a member of the House of Representatives from Ifo/Ewekoro Constituency, Ibrahim Isiaka, said, “You know we take responsibilities because, in the constitution, the first thing is the legislation, the parliament. Even if anybody wants to cause any trouble in this country, what you first say is, suspend the constitution, suspend the parliament’.
“But no one, till today, has actually sat down to go into research and define the meaning of legislators. The money being spent on the National Assembly – and when you say National Assembly, you are not talking about legislators who are the lawmakers. You are talking about the National Assembly Commission; you are talking about everything, all-encompassing – is less than two per cent of the total budget of this country, but, nobody had ever looked at what is happening to the 98 per cent.”
Abiodun, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Shuaib Salisu, lauded the Muslim Students Society for organising the symposium at a critical time in the history of the country.