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Presidential federalism setback to Nigeria’s dev’t – Enugu gov

Enugu State governor, Peter Mbah, has said Nigeria’s presidential federalism, which vests too much powers and revenues in the centre, is a major setback to the nation’s socio-economic development.

The governor stated this during a public lecture entitled ‘Enugu State, Nigeria: New political leadership; bold economic vision – Spotlight on the health and education strategies’, which he delivered at the London School of Economics at the weekend.

The governor said while discussions on further devolution continued, leaders at all levels could make a difference by applying political will, people-centred and transcendental leadership.

Recall that 60 members of the House of Representatives had on February 14, 2024, sponsored three bills proposing alterations to the Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended) to transit from the current presidential system to the parliamentary system of government by 2031.

The three bills were introduced on the floor of the House by the Clerk of the House for first reading.

But reacting in an exclusive interview with Daily Trust recently, a renowned constitutional lawyer, Professor Auwalu Yadudu, said the parliamentary system is chaotic.

He said, “I see a lot of problems with the parliamentary system. Number one, it is a system which is prone to so much instability. The leader of a majority of parties in the parliament continues to lead the government.

“The way politicians change their parties with whims and caprices, we can have so much instability in the country that within one year we can have government changing many times. I don’t think we are prepared for that kind of turbulence in political terms.”

But Governor Mbah said, “The choice of a presidential system might have been well-informed, shaped by the inherent benefits of federalism in other countries with population as vast and diverse as ours. But our presidential federalism has bred a system where revenue is excessively domiciled at the centre rather than in the states or regions.

“Our federal system evokes an imagery akin to someone with 36 children, but who allows just about five to constantly till the family’s farmland until those few eventually became frail from age and unable to farm the land anymore.

“Is it then surprising that the family has fallen into hard times? Shouldn’t that have been an opportunity for the family to overhaul its production strategy given the opportunities that could be borne out of crises sometimes?

“At the heart of our socio-economic challenge is the issue of leadership deficit. This has always been the bane of our development. Despite widespread clamour and yearning for leaders with transcendental values, leadership failure remains a recurring decimal.”

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