A former Senate President, Ameh Ebute, has called for the abolition of the state legislative and executive arms of government in the country.

He lamented the arm of government at that level across the country was not living up to the billing. 

Ebute spoke at the 2022 National Legislative Conference in Abuja. 

He said, “The impunities and the criminal breaches of the provisions of the 1999 Constitution are being committed by the chief state executives and to which the state legislators close their eyes.

“The United States, whose presidential system we copied from in 1979, has no state Assembly or state Congress. The states only have state senates.   
 
“I advocate for the complete abolition of the state legislatures and the offices of the state chief executives to have only two tiers of government in Nigeria namely federal and local governments.”

Ebute also decried the legislative turnover witnessed in the National Assembly, saying the development would negatively impact the nation’s democracy.

He accused party officials and state governors of being responsible for the legislative turnovers witnessed in the country. 

Ebute said, “The legislative turnover in Nigeria becomes inimical to the development of the entire political system and governmental policies and a serious hindrance to the institution-building of the Nigerian legislatures at all levels.

“By this method, the party officials in collaboration with the chief executives, for one reason or another, deny the re-contesting legislators who were vocal and offered constructive criticism of government policies, and nomination to return to the legislatures.

“This is not so in America, whose presidential system of government we copied in 1979. In America, their Constitution provides for staggered elections to the Congress whereby one-third or half of the legislators go for re-election at the end of the legislative period, leaving the seats of the remaining legislators to wait for another election period.  

“By this method, legislators who had acquired experience are preserved in Congress and those who succeed in their re-election bids return to meet their colleagues in the Congress thereby paving a smooth way for the consolidation and concretisation of the legislature as an institution.”
 
He called for the amendment of the constitution to discontinue the unwholesome trend.

Ebute said, “The absurdity of the legislative turnover in Nigeria calls for amendment of these sections of the 1999 Constitution dealing with the elections of senators and members of the House of Representatives as well as the state assemblies.”

Also speaking, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, said turnover portended a great danger to the country’s democracy, saying the legislative arm of government contributed immensely to the growth of democracy in the country.

Gbajabiamila, who was represented by the House of Reps’ Majority Leader, Alhassan Doguwa, urged Nigerians to ensure federal lawmakers contesting elections were re-elected in 2023.

He said, “The legislative arm is very important for the growth of democracy, the turnover is not good, and it is not a concept we should promote in the country. The turnover is unnecessary and will not augur well for the country.”

By Vision

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