Home Africa DEEPENING DEMOCRACY: PRESIDENTIAL OR PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT WHICH WAY FORWARD?

DEEPENING DEMOCRACY: PRESIDENTIAL OR PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT WHICH WAY FORWARD?

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The above caption pertains to an answered question that stands prominently on the nations political scene. Nigeria has had several constitutional reviews: From the Lugard Constitution of 1914, the nationalists dialogued over the Clifford Constitution of 1922, the Richards Constitution of 1946, the Macpherson Constitution of 1951 and the Independence Constitution of 1960. The country has also had constitutional reviews in 1963, to usher in its Republican status, and the 1979 Constitution, to usher in the ill-fated second Republic. There were other reviews in 1989, to cater for the Third Republic that was terminated in 1993; the 1995 Constitution ordered by the Gen. Sani Abacha regime, that was never made public; and the extant 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) which many have declared a document for the thrash-can on account of the fact that it contains serious inconsistencies. The 2014 National Conference also held. The extant constitution has been criticized for having been drafted by the military, who were not democratically elected and could, therefore, not lay claim to having the authority to draw up a near-perfect Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that would be accepted by the greater majority of the Nigerian populace. sIndependent Nigeria adopted the operation of a Parliamentary system of Government fashioned after that of Britain. Under the parliamentary system of government, which was operated up to the 15th January 1966, when the military first seized power from the elected government of Nigeria, the prime minister and the regional premiers, together with their ministers were, with a few exceptions, elected members of their respective legislatures, under a system that operated a bi-cameral legislature. There was a sort of fusion of the Executive and Legislature but there were checks and balances. Those who governed were directly answerable to the public through their elected representatives in parliament on the activities of the government. The Prime Minister’s Question Time in parliament was particularly productive in terms of the right constituents to know what the government was doing by way of questions raised through their representatives. After a long interregnum, the presidential system of Government was introduced in 1979. The Presidential system of government was imported wholesale from the United-States in 1979. For the first time in the history of the country, the President was directly elected by Nigerians as one constituency while state governors were elected in their states acting as single…

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