Elder statesman and Chairman Northern Elders Council, NEC, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, said the only option left to safe Nigeria from total disintegration is to go back to parliament system of government.
Yakassai, who disclosed this in an interview, in addition to the public funds looted and taken to other countries, said the presidential system of government being operated in the country was too expensive and has failed to unite the country.
“So, now I discover that presidential election is not suitable for Nigeria. The two reasons are our differences in terms of culture and religion.
“Our headache at that time was that we had three regions led by very powerful figures, and because of the power of those figures, they made their people to think the way they were thinking.
“All of them have gone – late Sardauna of Sokoto, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, and Chief Obafemi Awolowo- the three are yet to have any replacement, and nobody has an equivalent of the trio in Nigeria now.
“So, we can go back to parliamentary system; and the beauty of it is that government will be a cabinet government.
He said one important feature and beauty of parliamentary system is that the power is vested in the hand of group of people, unlike in presidential system where power is concentrated in the hand of one individual.
“You can’t remove the individual except through impeachment process which is very expensive. So, I’m now a ‘born again’ supporter of parliamentary system,” Yakassai said.
According the constitutional problem the country might be faced with is how to convince the members of the National Assembly, governors and president for the change.
“The members of National Assembly will not vote anything, they will not benefit from it because in parliamentary system, only the assembly, legislators that will be ministers. President or the Prime minister has no right to pick people from the street and make them ministers like we are doing now.
“If government is not performing, you don’t need to go for impeachment. All you need to do is file a motion of no confidence in that government. If other members of the political group feel the way you do and are convinced that government is not performing, they vote along with you.
“The moment you vote the government out, it will collapse and go. And a new government has to be formed. That alone will send a very good signal to any incoming government that if they misbehave, they will be sent parking, they I’ll be very careful”, he said, adding that the system does not allow ministers to act irresponsibly.
The elder statesman dismissed the call for the break-up of the country into six geo-political zones, stating that as long as the presidential system was sustained, Nigeria will remain in a quagmire.
“If you divide this country into 6 zones it will not change anything. You will still have either a governor or whatever you call it. If you cannot remove a government, there is nothing you can do. “
He said that he envisaged strong resistance from elected president, governors and lawmakers, but believes with constant public awareness, the idea will gradually be accepted by the people.
Speaking on the ongoing fight against corruption, he said, “I’m not against fighting corruption”, but noted that as long as Nigerian leaders continue to live above their legitimate earning, it would be difficult to curb the menace.

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