By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – Federal Lawmaker representing Enugu South Senatorial District and former Deputy President of the Senate, Dr. Ike Ekweremadu, has said Nigeria should revert to parliamentary System of government or the high-breed version or both.
Ekweremadu gave the advice on Wednesday in Abuja at a colloquium/book presentation titled: ‘Pitch: Debunking Marketing’s Strongest Myths’, written by Ikem Okuhu.
The former Deputy Senate President who also tasked the Federal Government on the need to devolve power to the states, said the increasing wave of insecurity in the entire country as well as serious economic challenges, make it expedient to so do.
According to him, no two democracies are the same, same as government. Nigeria moved from parliamentary to Presidential system of government so nothing stops us from going back to parliamentary or it’s high- breed. So each country comes with its own unique style.
He said however that no matter the type you adopt, there are certain things that are garman such as participatory democracy, pluralism, deliberative governance – all are terminologies in defining good government.
Ekweremadu who said that in Nigeria, people are not at the driving seat, stressed that dialogue should be the oil in which democracy will be eaten, ading that it is time for us to talk as citizens for government to listen.
The Enugu South Senator also weighed in on calls for ceding the presidential tickets of the major political parties to the South East, saying it is possible to have a president of Igbo extraction in 2023, the zone must engage other parts of the country in dialogue. No region in Nigeria today can produce President without dialoguing with other region, he added.
According to him, “there is clamour for Igbo presidency today. And I believe it can only be realised if we engage ourselves in conversation with other regions in Nigeria to buy into our initiative”.
He bemoaned the Federal Government over the current economic downturn and increasing cases of insecurity for vehemently disregarding well-thought-out solutions being proffered by patriotic Nigerians. He lamented that democracy which was supposed to be a people-centred model of government has been so bastardized by some politicians who tend to distance themselves from the people once they are elected into offices.
“Today, Nigeria is in the full grip of widespread insecurity- insurgency, banditry, abductions, armed robbery, and all manner of violent crimes. Nigerians have been offering solutions towards taming the rising wave of criminality.
“These include calls for decentralised policing, which I am a proponent of and also have a Bill to that effect currently before the Senate. “Unfortunately, it appears the government is bent on doing the same thing over and over but ironically hoping to get a different result.
“In the same manner, many Nigerians, including yours sincerely, have been shouting it on the rooftops long before the current economic downturn occasioned by drastic and protracted decline in oil revenues, that the days of high oil revenues were numbered. “The West and other developed nations are setting targets to move away from oil. Yet we are not even close to activating other abundant sources of income because our federalism is wired for wealth sharing rather than wealth creation.
“Even in the 7th National Assembly when we listened to the yearnings of Nigerians to amend the constitution to devolve aviation, power, railway, etc. from the Exclusive List to the Concurrent List, it was never assented by the Presidency. “Now that the chicken has come home to roost, let us hope that the Federal Government will listen to the voices of reason, devolve powers, and not continue with the micromanagement of the nation’s resources”, he stated.
On building national cohesion, Ekweremadu said: “Nigeria is now divided as never before. The chasms are increasing by the day. Elder statesmen and women, writers, and other well-meaning Nigerians have continued to raise the alarm that the nation is drifting apart.
“They have equally continued to proffer suggestions on how we can engender national cohesion, justice, and equity. We will continue to pray that the government heeds their patriotic calls and suggestions.”
Ekweremadu who recalled how he sold the idea of public hearing to them Senate President, Bukola Saraki and how it was adopted by the National Assembly called for the expansion of the scope of the referendum in the 1999 Constitution and use of public hearing in the appropriation process.
The author of the book, Mr. Okuhu, emphasised the need for more citizen engagement in democratic governance as he announced a quarterly initiative, “Conversations on a New Nigeria”, a platform to engineer building a united and prosperous Nigeria.
Okuhu said the book is written to reshape and refocus marketing thinking towards what works in practical terms, stressing that the it also offers readers a pragmatic rather than academic insights into the cultural, Psychological and sociological peculiarities of Nigerians as they interact daily with their environment and the brand they consume.