The Bill Proposing Regional Government: Is this what Nigerians want at this hard time?

The Bill Proposing Regional Government: Is this what Nigerians want at this hard time?
The Bill Proposing Regional Government: Is this what Nigerians want at this hard time?

Abba Hamisu Sani

Africa-Press – Nigeria. Nigeria practiced the Parliamentary system of government from 1960 when it got its independence from the British colonial administration to 1967 when the first Military coup d’etat toppled the civilian rule under Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe as the President with Abubakar Tafawa Balewa as the Prime Minister. This system has three regions; Northern, Southern, and Eastern Regions, and Lagos as the nation’s Capital.

Under this system, each region has a premier with full autonomy. But in 1979 when the country returned to a Democratic system after a 12-year break, a Presidential system of government was adopted with an executive President and Governors at the state level.

The system was maintained up to date even when the military took over again in 1983, it was still operating when democracy returned in 1999.

It is a known fact that some Nigerians are of the view that the parliamentary system of government is cheaper compared to the presidential system which has the President and two chambers of the National Assembly; the Senate and the House of Representatives.

It could also be recalled that some members of the National Assembly embarked on consultation visits to some elder statesmen in the country to solicit support for their bill which agitated for the return to the parliamentary system of government.

Divergent views on the regional government system

Dr. Abbati Bako is a political and communication strategist. He said the information came to him as a surprise because Liberal Democracy and Parliamentary Democracy dip a little bit. The United States of America and the United Kingdom can serve as an excellent example. The analyst stated this in an open letter to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu recently.

“I write to express my view on the trending issue that your Government is planning to introduce the possibility of Constitutional amendments on how to create Regional Governments in the country.

This information came as a surprise to me. Because Liberal Democracy and Parliamentary Democracy dip a little bit. The United States of America and the United Kingdom can serve as an excellent example” Dr. Bako said.

The political analyst added that during Tinubu’s campaigns toward elections in 2023, the President didn’t mention the idea of reintroduction of Regional Governments in Nigeria. And again, His Excellency is aware that for the past 25 years of uninterrupted Constitutional Democracy in Nigeria, the past elected Presidents from General Olusegun Obasanjo to Muhammad Buhari none of them made mention of the possibility of Constitutional amendments to introduce the possibility of creating Regional Governments in Nigeria. In Liberal Democracy called a presidential System of Government) I doubt if there is any country in the world that practices the system and creates regional governments within.

Regional governments are unusual in the Presidential system

Dr. Abbati Bako said that it’s only in Parliamentary Democracy that Regional Governments are created; Nigeria’s Democratic system between 1960 to 1966 is an excellent example.

The British are the mothers of the Parliamentary System in the world and France and Germany are the mothers of Social Democracies. On the other hand, China is the mother of Direct Democracy. China is not a Liberal or Representative Democracy. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Chinese Government State that China is a Socialist Democracy.

The democratic System is about doing what the people want. Democracy is about Constitutional practice, meaning that a country’s Constitution is Alpha and Omega in the system. Rules of law are the leading light of the system of Democratic Governance in any country around the world; be it advanced or emerging nations.

Liberal Democracy practice in Africa: yet to produce positives

Liberal Democracy, Direct Democracy, and Social Democracy are the Systems that have been in practice in most countries of the world in this 21st Century. The system is fantastic, excellent, and worth doing but the system is yet to make Africa proud of infrastructural development, economic viability, security challenges, and security of wants.

Nigeria practices Liberal Democracy; meaning a Presidential System of Government, remember that in America the system has been in practice for the past more than 270 years and no issue of creating regional governments has ever been raised by American leaders since then. By doing that their Liberal Democracy (Presidential System) has been growing and is now in an advanced stage and the system made them great.

Likewise, Social Democracies in Europe have been successfully in practice since the end of World War 11 and they’re now described as advanced democracies without any hitches or disappointment in the practice of the system.

While in Nigeria the 25 years of practice is called “Transitional Democracy”. Meaning the practice is in between success and failure. And if Nigeria’s Democratic system fails; Democratic practice in Africa will hit the rocks. Hence, Nigeria must try to maintain the tempo of the system and we may succeed so soon.

De Renaissance Patriots Foundation is a nongovernmental Organization whose members are indigenes of Lagos. The Foundation expressed that it prefers a stand-alone status for Lagos and not a merger with other southwest states.

The group stated this in a statement released on Saturday 1st of June 2024, while reacting to the speculations that the National Assembly is making a move towards enacting a law that will create Regional governments. The document is titled “A Bill for an Act to Substitute the Annexure to Decree 24 of 1999 with a new governance model for the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.

This document went viral on social media recently

The De Renaissance Patriots added that although the leadership of the National Assembly has denied the viral draft bill, it is not convinced.

The group said that the draft bill was an attempt to subsume the aspirations of the people of Lagos into a larger group.

“In recent times our various Indigenous groups had always maintained that we as indigenes of Lagos had always been having a new deal from our neighbors in the southwest who see nothing good in us as they are only for the project to marginalize us and see our state as spoils of war.

We recall that in our history of over 100 years, Lagos indigenes in their various forms, towns, and villages have never made progress and development as part of any region, not to mention the western region. The brief balkanization of our state to be part of the western region was an aberration.

Nothing should be assumed especially from the contents of this proposed bill, especially if it has the inclusion of Lagos State as part of any region. We demand a referendum to reflect the wishes of the people.

We, the indigenes of Lagos State, do not wish to be part of the regional state as proposed in the bill returning Nigeria to a regional government.

Our leaders and traditional rulers opposed it in 1953 and we gained respite in 1967. We, the offspring of our hero’s past, will not accept it.

We enjoin our representatives in the national assembly to consult with the elders, statesmen and stakeholders before taking any action on the bill.

This is beyond the ruling party and state government affairs. Lagos State can not be brought into nothingness through the southwest region proposal by this bill surreptitiously” the statement reads.

National Assembly’s reactions

On Friday 31st of May 2024, the National Assembly distanced itself from the bill as there was so much debate on Social Media. The bill was said to have been drafted by one Fapohunda, who is not a member of the National Assembly.

Yemi Adaramodu is the Senate’s spokespersons. He said there is no such bill before the national assembly.

“Such a bill is not with us. And who is sponsoring the bill? The National Assembly plenary is always held openly with the media in the chambers. In which order paper has such been reflected?”The senate spoke Person said.

In the same vein, the House representatives denied the existence of such a bill. Akin Rotimi is the spoke person in the lower chamber. He stated that the issue about the the bill of the creation of regional governments is not true.

“The committees on rules and business and constitution review have confirmed that there is no such bill before them “The Punch quoted Rotimi saying.

To end this piece is to urge Nigerians to avoid creating and spreading rumors as they can easily circulate and create tensions as this purported information has received huge attention from social media users.

The National Assembly also needs to do more awareness creation in whatever bill or activity it conducts, so that there will be no communication gap, that will give room for such rumors.

Even though there was agitation from some members of the National Assembly to return to the parliamentary system, but such rumors are tantamount to unrest in the country that suffered so much insecurity and crisis.

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  1. It was a long held hidden agenda of Tinubu and his core political travellers.
    They have been brainwashed into believing that a part of the country is an economic parasite and a leach, so it should be cleverly and smartly be done away with.
    The policy is mean to implement what they called restructuring and resources control in disguise.
    I think it will eventually be a blessing for the region being targeted with that economic weapons.
    Let us just pray that will succeed.


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