Elder Statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, on Thursday, reiterated calls for Nigeria to adopt the French Presidential system of government.
Yakasai, a human rights activist and former liaison officer to late President Shehu Shagari, stated this in Lagos at the TheNiche Newspaper Annual Lecture with the theme: “2023 Elections and the Future of Nigeria’s Democracy.”
He said the most outstanding aspect of the French system of government was that it made it easier to replace non performing governments than the American Presidential system operated in Nigeria.
France is a republic and practices parliamentary democracy with a hybrid presidential/parliamentary political system.
In the French system, the head of state is the French President who appoints the Prime Minister as head of government.
The French parliament is bicameral; the lower chamber is the National Assembly (Assemblée Nationale), which sits in the Palais Bourbon with 577 elected députés.
The upper chamber is the Senate (Sénat), which sits inside the Luxembourg Palace. It has 348 senators elected by an electoral college of representatives.
Yakasai noted that operating the American system made administrating Nigeria, which is a Federal State with diverse nature, more expensive to run and extremely difficult to develop and prosper, unlike many of its sister developing nations.
“The Federal system of government in Nigeria was established in 1954, making it the oldest on the African continent and should be jettisoned post 2023.
“Another important reason I am advocating the adoption of the French presidential system is that it is far cheaper to operate and, therefore, more suitable to us as a developing nation,” he said.
According to him, the decision to drop the parliamentary system in Nigeria during the military era was largely influenced by American trained elites in Nigeria rather than exhaustive debate and objective evaluation of the full potential of the parliamentary system in Nigeria.
“In my opinion, that decision was not driven by proper rationale of the suitability of the American system in our own peculiar national situation.
“The decision has not done justice to the parliamentary system and Nigeria as a country and its developmental needs and economic circumstances.
“This is because the parliamentary system is more democratic in its nature than American Presidential system,” he said.
Yakasai, who said Nigeria is at a crossroads, noted that the political leadership under the current federal system remained far from being optimal.
“Today, 62 years after independence, it is shameful that Nigeria is described as a resource endowed but not a rich nation,” he said.
He added that the regional system of government worked better for Nigeria and, therefore, said he supported a conscious shift to regional geopolitical zones arrangement.