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DELSU Don Calls For Urgent Constitutional Review

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By Karen Chikezie, Faith Ebireri and Greatman Friday

Prof. Akpomuvire Mukoro, an expert in Public Administration, Local Government Administration and Governance, has declared that the wobbling conditions of Nigeria will continue to fester unless immediate and genuine steps are taken to amend the constitution in a manner that prevents corruption, cuts wastes, promotes accountability and reflect the popular will of Nigerians.

Mukoro asserted that the problem besetting Nigeria has lingered for too long, adding that the political class has placed the country in a reverse gear.

In an exclusive interview with DELSU Echo, the Dean of Management Sciences at Delta State University, Abraka, said “Nigeria is a very great nation, but its problem is mainly and squarely that of leadership”.

He argued that the constitutional conference organised by former President Goodluck Jonathan provided a veritable roadmap to place the country on the path of political, economic and social prosperity, regretting that hindrances from the current constitution and unpatriotic politicians have made it impossible to implement the resolutions reached at the confab.

“Jonathan, at the end of his tenure in office felt that the problem of Nigeria was getting out of hand and he decided to initiate a constitutional conference which brought people from all walks of life and ethnic background.

“They met and there were arguments and debates, but in the end, they came up with a roadmap that could have gotten this country out of its present state.

“Unfortunately, he was unable to implement it because, one, you cannot implement such policies or new ideas without amending the constitution. So the constitution stood as a hindrance.

“The majority of the people in the National Assembly that could have helped to amend the constitution were from areas opposed to the conference. The amendment of the constitution would have been able to address the issues of resource control, calibre of people to occupy public office and accountability in governance.

“It would have been able to also look at our obsolete laws that would have reformed the relationship among citizens and our relationship with other countries. So, President Jonathan was greatly hampered by those he was surrounded with, and if we were to revisit the recommendations of the National Confab and adopt the roadmap to address the problems of Nigeria, it would be more cost-effective and beneficial than the current approach.”

Call For Parliamentary System of Govt

According to him, the growing call by many Nigerians for the return to the parliamentary system of government is justified by the relative cost and accountability made possible by the system, noting that the country is immature for the Presidential System of Government it currently operates.

“The parliamentary system is cheaper, less cumbersome, and it holds people accountable.

“Under this system, there is no Executive President who will go out to contest election for that seat. The parliamentary system is such that to become a prime minister, you don’t vie for that office.

“You contest at your constituency as a parliamentarian then when you get to the centre, a prime minister is chosen from the parliamentarians irrespective of whether the person is in the opposition party or in the party in government

“This country is not mature enough for the Presidential System of Government that we are operating. The ethnic divide is too pronounced and our leaders are capitalising on the differences.”

Dead LGAs

On the numbed state of local government councils, Mukoro said the constitution grants both internal and external sources of revenues to local government areas in Nigeria, regretting that the third tier of government has been reduced to monthly salaries payment agency.

While partly apportioning blame to state governments for lording over local governments in the disbursement and management of the 10% statutory allocation to LGAs, the erudite scholar insisted that LGAs have no reason to go broke.

“Even if the state governments do not remit their actual amount to them, local governments have no reason to be complaining of being broke because what they get internally is massive.

“There are veritable sources of revenue that are grossly underexplored. There are sections of the constitution that has empowered each tier to source for revenue.

“Local government is responsible for garages as provided by the constitution, and the state has not interfered.

“I don’t know if the local governments are just being lazy or the windfall of oil has blindfolded them to the reality that abounds within their underbelly; I think they need to be challenged.”

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