Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola has explained why his administration adopted the Parliamentary system of government for local government administration.
Speaking at the swearing-in ceremony for councillors representing the wards in the local governments, local council development areas (LCDAs), area councils and administrative offices, on Tuesday evening, the governor said the adoption of the system was in fulfilment of the people’s wish to deepen democracy.
He said the parliamentary system would also entrench genuine democratic practice at the grassroots.
Aregbesola said he was sensitive to the overwhelming wish of the people, as stated in the report of the Gbadegesin Adedeji-led committee on political reforms, that the parliamentary system of government be adopted.
The governor noted that by adopting the parliamentary system, the state had complied with the wish of the people.
According to him, the experience in the First Republic attests to the fact that the parliamentary system deepens democracy and offers far greater political representation and effective governance than any other system.
Aregbesola argued that the decision to adopt the parliamentary system of government was also in fulfilment of Section 7 (1) of the Nigerian Constitution, which stipulates that “the system of local government by democratically elected local government councils is under this Constitution guaranteed and, accordingly, the government of every state shall, subject to Section 8 of this Constitution, ensure their existence under a law which provides for the establishment, structure, composition, finance and functions of such councils”.
The governor said his administration’s action to adopt the new system was not against the constitution or contrary to the tenets of democracy but to galvanise good governance and effective representation.
He said the parliamentary system was more democratic, compared to the Executive, in that the latter tends towards dictatorship, arbitrariness and absolutism, since power is concentrated in one man’s hand with little or no check.
Aregbesola said: “Our decision is not against the constitution, as quoted earlier. Nowhere did it mention executive or parliamentary – only that it must be democratic – and parliamentary system is as democratic as you can ever get.
“You will recall that in 2012, the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria asked for a memorandum on the review of the 1999 Constitution. A 15-man committee was set up in Osun under the chairmanship of Gbadegesin Adedeji to aggregate the opinions and views from the state.
“The committee held public sittings for three weeks during which members of the public, institutions, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and others made submissions.
“In the end, it was the overwhelming wish of the people, as stated in the committee’s report, that parliamentary system of government be adopted at all levels of government. What we have done, therefore, is to defer to the wish of the people in their clamour for parliamentary system of government.
“To appreciate this gesture, in a parliamentary system, the executive emerges from and is formed in the parliament, making the members of Parliament to be members of the executive as well and the leadership of the executive to be first among equals, primus inter pares.
“In a parliamentary system, decisions are taken collectively and must be agreed upon by the majority in the House while members of the executive, who are also parliamentarians, can and are daily called to answer questions on any executive action taken.
“Because the executive members are appointed from parliament, a lot of cost is saved, compared to when fresh ‘persons have to be appointed as ministers, commissioners, chairmen of councils, etc’.
“This system saves campaign cost and reduces the impetus for corruption in that a candidate only need to campaign in his or her constituency, unlike in the executive system where a presidential candidate must tour the whole country and a governorship candidate must tour the whole state while a chairmanship candidate must tour the entire local council.”