Speaking on Wednesday in Uyo in response to the #EndSARS protests that have revolved into calls for good governance, Former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Victor Attah explained that the problem of Nigeria was foundational and not governance.
“The presidential system has become very oppressive. It seems it is in our nature to feel once you win an election, you are a conqueror, so you behave exactly as you please, nobody can talk to you, you don’t have to see anybody and that’s what is happening and we abuse it.”
He stated that what the country needs was a rebirth, adding that the present presidential system of government the country operates was the cause of her failure, and requested that it be scrapped.
Obong Attah who said Nigeria was better off when it operated a parliamentary system of government as the regions were autonomous, controlled their resources, had their own Police, and only contributed to the central government, called for a return to the parliamentary system, saying it suits the country better.
He explained that the parliamentary system would allow the people to choose their representatives based on performance and selection on a party basis or godfatherism, adding that it would also solve the problem of 0tenure entitlement.
He stated that then, the country operated four constitutions as each of the three regions had their own constitution and one national constitution, adding that the regions did not feel cheated because they generated their own income and lived on what they were able to generate.
He revealed that then the South-South/East was known for its oil palm industry, the Ijaws for mining, the West for their cocoa, and the North their groundnut, adding that Nigeria has remained one because her leaders chose to keep the then regions as one before the country became independent in 1960.
“It goes beyond governance. If you bring angels, (and I’m not blaspheming) to operate the system we have today, it would fail. The system is one that cannot succeed.
“I call it rebirth. I want Nigeria to be reborn. Let’s give it a new birth, let it become what it was always supposed to be: a federal system and preferably, I say preferably because some people still feel enamoured with this Presidential system, I am not.
“I read a few days ago, ‘The North wants Jonathan to come back and complete his tenure. Nobody had tenure. The constitution says yes, you can have two terms, it’s only if the people want you back. It does not mean that once elected, you have two tenures, so if you didn’t have the second one, you didn’t complete your tenure, you should come back and complete it.
“That’s why I say we are not mentally prepared for this presidential system. We are not ready; that’s one of the reasons I say scrap it, go back to the parliamentary system. In the parliamentary system, if you have a good prime minister like Britain had Margaret Thatcher, you can come back four or five times if your people want you back.
“You are a Prime Minister because you are elected from your small enclave and the whole country sees that you are good, and they insist you become prime minister. That system is what suits us now,” he stated.