Former Akwa Ibom State Governor Obong Victor Attah has decried the failure of the presidential system of government in Nigeria. He advocated a return to the parliamentary system.
Attah spoke at the weekend in Uyo, during a virtual Public Policy Dialogue, promoted by Ricchezza Initiative for Social Empowerment.
He maintained that a government that must impact on the people must originate from, and maintain regular interface with the community, which the presidential system lacks.
The elder statesmen condemned the high cost of conducting elections, saying it has robbed the masses of allegiance to their representatives, as public office holders now strive to satisfy the yearnings of their sponsors at the expense of the people they should represent.
He said: “I came here with ‘come let us reason together’ because I know that whatever you are, whatever your exposure, however intelligent you are, you can’t do it alone, you must have a community that works with you, tell you what their needs are, tell you what their demands are, and leadership means being able to fulfil those things for the people.
“Today, the people do not truly communicate with their representatives because they did not really need their vote to get into offices. That is why the presidential system is not working for Nigeria.
“The parliamentary system made it possible for those representing the community to be elected by the community, not the party, not the courts. The people would know who they want. You cannot rig their conscience.
“The cost of election today is expensive, making it difficult for public office holders to do what the communities want. They do what the sponsors want. To campaign across the country for a presidential election, or across the state for governorship, requires a lot of money. So the moment you are sworn into office, you focus on your sponsors.”
To succeed in laying the foundation for Akwa Ibom today, Attah said he raised 32 committees to work with communities across the state to ascertain their needs and how to tackle such needs.
Attah, who maintained that the parliamentary system, would give room for true federalism, where the federating units would control their resources and develop local authorities, including security, called for a new constitution to get Nigeria on track.
The anchor, Udeme Etukayin of Ricchezza Initiative for Social Empowerment, said the policy engagement series was designed to x-ray views to escalate solution- driven leadership and governance in Africa.
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