Restructuring: Parliamentary, regional system panacea to insecurity, graft – Sambo

A northern elder, Alhaji Abbas Dabo Sambo has petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly on the need to restructure Nigeria to address insecurity and corruption.

He said the restructuring should start with constitution amendment that would adopt parliamentarian, regional system of government.

Dabo Sambo who is a former permanent secretary in the North Central state government from 1969 to 1979 and acting secretary to old Kaduna state in 1979, in the letter copied to governors, ex-presidents, ex-heads of state and top political leaders, said Nigeria faced grave challenges in almost all sectors, including power, security, economy, education, agriculture, health, industries and employment, adding that it is imperative to find an enduring solution fast.

He suggested a regional parliamentarian system headed by a prime minister and deputy prime minister, premiers and deputies for the six geopolitical zones, governors for each of the 36 states, national and state assemblies. The prime minister will be in charge of defence (Armed Forces), Customs, Immigration, foreign affairs, aviation, currency, while police and prisons will be devolved to the regions.

Addressing journalists in Kaduna on Tuesday, the retired civil servant said, “We should salvage the ailing presidential system and replace it with parliamentary which is much easier to improve our security matter, our societal discipline, restore our security system, public safety, economy. Reintroducing regions with each of the six geopolitical zones to become a region with premiers.”

Alhaji Sambo, who was Chairman Federal Government Public Accounts Committee in the mid 1980’s, said, “In view of the worsening security situation in Nigeria, there is absolute need to rethink the federal structure since it has failed, so that an improved political system is set up and adopted through “Constitutional Reform” for peace and development. Nigeria’s constitution shall be reviewed before 2023 elections and there should be a new structure.

“While the prime minister should be a member of the parliament and the premiers members of the regional assemblies. Four tiers of government federal, regions, states and local governments. Parliament, regional and states should have six years single term, while local government shall have three years single term and must be allowed to operate as a fourth tier entity. It will be 30% cheaper than the presidential system we now operate.

“Traditional institution should be recognised in the new constitution to improve security and should be given responsibility on security law and order. The salaries of the prime minister, deputy, premier, deputy, governors, deputy, chairman and vice chairman of local government councils shall be fixed by economic experts as well as salaries for ministers. Federal and regional ministers shall be on the same pay.”

The 85- year-old elder statesman said lawmakers shall not be paid constituency allowances, and they shall not be paid salaries but quarterly allowances and they shall meet quarterly except for committees. He also said there shall be no pension for political office holders and no sitting allowance except for traveling and hotel accommodation. While only prime minister and his deputy would have recourse to immunity.