Parliamentary/Presidential System, Regionalism and Resource Control in
March 29, 2005
and Separation of Powers
1. It is useful to
- the Executive
- the Legislature
- the Judiciary
as the First, Second and
Third Estates of the Realm respectively
2. It is also useful to
Organized Private Sector (Businesses)
- the Organized Civil Society (including the Press)
- the Civilian Masses
as the Fourth, Fifth, and
Sixth Estates of the Realm respectively.
3. No superiority
hierarchy is implied in the above ordering, except to state that since all
other realms start from and end up as Civilian Masses, that Sixth Estate is
4. The perfect polity is
one in which all of the Estates operate in the best way possible and
relate to each other in as cordial a manner as possible.
5. A Monarchy has at
least the first two realms invested in the monarch. In an absolute
monarchy, akin to a dictatorship, all three estates are invested in the
6. In a modern democracy,
at the very minimum, the Judiciary is always different from both the
Executive and the Legislature, and should be independent.
7. In a representative
electoral democracy, at the very minimum, the legislature is chosen by free,
fair and periodic elections by the Civilian Masses.
8. Various democracies
differ by how or whether the Executive and the Judiciary are chosen – either
by election or by nomination.
9. In a traditional
Parliamentary System, the Executive and the Legislature are fused, with an
executive Prime Minister chosen from within the Legislature – usually the
head of the ruling political party or that heads the ruling coalition.
parliamentary systems differ by whether all or some of the cabinet members
are chosen from that legislature or from outside it, and by whether there is
another superintending (not necessarily elected) body to which its decisions
are passed (eg the House of Lords in the United Kingdom) or the Senate in
the United States. More broadly, parliamentary systems differ by the
“camerality” of its numbers.
11. In a traditional
Presidential system, the Executive is elected separately from the
legislature, with a single person – the President – as the embodiment of the
Executive branch. The cabinet of that president is chosen from outside of
12. There are mixed
modes of Parliamentary/Presidential systems: the President as Head of State
and the Prime Minister as Head of Government, with both persons elected
separately, and with the President as the face of state to the external
world and as internal political mediator, and capable of dismissing the
government if and when necessary, usually at the request of the Prime
13. With the above as
prelude, my proposition for Nigeria is a mixed mode
Parliamentary/Presidential system at the federal level as follows:
(i) A unicameral
Parliamentary system in which a Prime Minister is chosen from among the
legislators, with each legislator (including the Prime Minister)
being elected from their local constituencies.
(ii) The term of
Parliament members will be four years, but with half of the members
contesting every other off-two-years for seat renewal. Thus, all seats
cannot be theoretically replaced all at once.
(iii) The Presidency
shall be with a single term of 6 years, with only current members of the
Parliament with a minimum of two years on seat being free to contest. [This
is a variant of the Option A4 of 1993.]
(iv) The major function
of the President shall be to represent the country in external affairs and
to mediate in the Parliament and within the country. Consequently, the
President shall resign from all partisan political party activities.
(v) At the beginning of
this President/PM cycle (when no Parliament member would have fulfilled the
two-year requirement), the Chief Justice shall double as the President of
(vi) The Federal House
shall be unicameral, but with certain specified votes being taken for the
purpose of decision-making:
(a) by majority
(single-member) vote; or
(b) by “senatorial” (block-majority) vote; that is a senate district is
counted as for or against an issue depending on whether a majority of the
representatives of that district vote for or against the issue.
Thus a separate Senate shall not be necessary.
(vii) Except for the
Prime Minister and his cabinet, membership of House shall not be full time.
Rather House shall meet CONTINUOUSLY for the last two months of each year to
consider the Annual Budget, and twice continuously for one month each
between January and April, and between May and August. The Speaker of the
House shall reserve the right to call the House back to session for
14. The above apply for
the Assembly/Gubernatorial system in the state, where there shall be a
Premier and a Governor-General.
15. In the local
government, all elections for councillors shall be on a non-party basis.
Term shall be for two years.
States and Local Government
16. Nigeria currently
has one Federal Government, 36 state governments + the Federal Capital
Territory, and 774 Local Governments.
17. The necessity to
satisfy federal character (over 36 states) and relate to so many lower tiers
of government puts an administrative burden on the federal government.
Thus there is need to isolate the local governments from the federal
government and reduce the state exposure to the federal government.
18. The local
governments should be strictly affairs of the state governments, and their
relationship to the federal level should be the exception rather than the
19. It is unlikely that
many states eg Ekiti State, would be prepared to lose their current
hard-fought-for identities. Thus nothing should be done to cancel states or
require a formal intra-regional formal structure i.e. a zonal or regional
structure with a new regional capital and administrative structure might be
resisted. Nevertheless, intra-regional cooperation for efficiency purpose
shall be encouraged by law and by fiscal incentives.
20. A minimum of six and
a maximum of eight regions + the Federal Capital Territory shall be created,
each subdivided into three subregions as follows:
(i) South-West Region:
SWA: Lagos, Ogun; SWB: Oyo, Osun, SWC: Ekiti, Ondo
(ii) South-South Region: [SWA: Edo, Delta;] SWB: Bayelsa, Rivers; SWC: Akwa
(iii) South-East: SWA: Enugu; SWB: Anambra, Imo; SWC: Abia, Ebonyi
(iv) Middle-Belt: [MBA:
Niger; MBB: Kogi, Kwara;] MBC: Benue, Plateau; Nasarawa
(v) North-West: NWA: Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara; NWB: Kano, Katsina; Jigawa NWC:
(vi) North-East: NEA: Gombe, Bauchi; NEB: Yobe, Borno NEC: Adamawa,
(vii) FCT - Federal Capital Territory
The bracketed groups of
states above may be constituted into two new regions.
In the following
discussions, we will assume six regions + FCT.
21. For federal
character eg in ministerial appointments, reference shall be made only to
REGIONS, with due concern for spread within the A, B, C groups of each
region – a total of 18 sub-regions. Thus, there could be a maximum of 19
federal ministers, etc., and federal character could on occasion be
satisfied by equal distribution among 7 regions or even 13 sub-regions
(always include FCT).
22. Fiscal allocations
should also be encouraged based on an equality of regions rather than of
states, with encouragement of intra-regional re-distribution efforts.
23. The right of land
ownership, land use and ownership of content there-under; of ownership of
resources on and under contiguous bodies of water up to the territorial
waters edge; incorporation and taxation of the Organized Private Sector;
shall revert to the State and Local Governments only, with negotiated taxes
paid to the Federal Government. Thus the Land Use Act, exclusive list
incorporation of companies, and constitutional conferment of mineral rights
to the Federal Government should be removed from the books.
24. To ensure the
independence of the Judiciary, it shall have a First Line Charge on the
Consolidated Revenue of the Federation. The Office of the President shall
also have a first-line charge.
25. Except for instances
outlined above, nothing in the Constitution shall require the present or
past members of the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary to be
members of any common advisory council – for example a Council of State, or
for example a Judicial Council that may comprise the Chief Justice and the
Attorney-General (a cabinet member). This violates both the Separation of
Powers and the spirit of federalism.
26. The Exclusive List
of the Federal Government shall be minimum, the Concurrent List shall be
manageable, but all other unspecifieds (residual) shall revert to the State
27. There shall be a
Justiciable Bill of Rights for the rights and responsibilities of the
Civilian Masses and Organized Civil Society: concise, comprehensible and
translated into several languages of Nigeria.
Many of the above points
are subject to negotiation, and have been made with cost and efficiency in
mind, and bearing in mind also the experience of legislative and executive
history of Nigeria.
Comments are welcome.