Obasanjo: Why parliamentary system may not work


Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Saturday cautioned those calling for the return of a parliamentary system of government to replace the existing presidential structure.
Obasanjo said running a parliament comes with its challenges.
Obasanjo, who governed the country as head of state from 1976 to 1979 and as a democratically elected president from 1999 to 2007, stated that elder statesmen like him ought to know better.
The former president clarified his position on the debate when he spoke as a guest of honour at the public presentation of the book “Court and Politics,” authored by Umar Ardo.
Ardo was the governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party in the 2023 general election in Adamawa state.
Obasanjo was reacting to the argument raised by a member of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF)and former vice chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, in favour of the parliamentary system.
Abdullahi declared at the book launch that he was in support of the recent by some lawmakers to return Nigeria to parliamentary democracy.
The former military ruler, who was represented by ex-Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu, however, explained that ‘the 24 years of practising presidential system’ in Nigeria were not enough, adding that the most important thing to do was to devolve power and resources from the centre (federal) to the states and local governments level.
He said, “To bring it back home, no matter what you bring, if the political culture is not there—the same attitude, the same people, the same ways of doing things—we are wasting our time. The second issue is that you imported the parliamentary system in 1960 without the requisite political culture to hold it.
“Now you imported the presidential system, and I have heard people say to bring back the parliamentary system again.
“Anybody who remembers the coup of 1966 will associate that coup with the elections of 1965, leading to the killing and murdering of people in the name of politics. No matter what you bring and no matter what you import, if the political culture is not there, it will not work.”
According to him, the poor resource management and low productivity among Nigerians are to blame for the nation’s current economic predicament.
Again, the former president faulted Abdullahi for saying the North has failed its people.
The former number one insisted that the leaders and not the followership should be held accountable for the region’s backwardness.
“Don’t say northern Nigeria failed when you produce somebody who does not know what to do. We should be blaming those people,” he stated.

Credit: The Punch


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