Leader of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Professor Ango Abdullahi, has said that the only way Nigeria can end corruption and the numerous challenges standing on its way to greatness is to abolish ‘corrupt and expensive’ presidential system for parliamentary system of government.
Professor Abdullahi, one time Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria said the major reason Nigeria is still in a state of confusion after almost 60 years of independence is the mistake of changing to presidential system from the parliamentary system of government that the country inherited from its colonial masters.
The Northern Elders Forum spokesman stated this in Kaduna at the weekend during the launch of national moral awareness campaign, organised by a youth group, Moral Initiative of Nigeria (MIN).
Ango Abdullahi said, “until tomorrow, if I have the power, I will throw away this presidential system and return Nigeria to parliamentary system of government, because of so many reasons. The most important of those reasons is that, parliamentary system is not as expensive as the one we operate today. Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto led the entire Northern Nigeria alone with just few people and a governor in Kaduna.
“This system we operate today does not give birth to anything other than waste, stealing and the corruption that we are all making noise about. But, in parliamentary system, you don’t become minister except you are elected from your constituency, which means that, you have where to account for your stewardship. But today, once you master the acts of boot-licking, lying and hypocrisy, you will just be called to come and be commissioner or minister.
“That is why up till tomorrow, we cannot stop talking about Sardauna. No matter how close you were to him he never gave appointment to people who were not capable of delivering the responsibility. He would tell you, you can’t handle this kind of responsibility, but, we will look for what you can do for you. That is why you never saw lopsided appointment with him. But today, what you hear is that, this one is my in law’s son, my friend’s son and so on.
“My elder brother, General Murtala Mohammed is the one that made that first mistake of changing the system of government from parliamentary to presidential without allowing Nigerians to debate and look critically at the differences between the two system of government. This is what brought us to where we are now in a state of waste and expensive government.
“Now, the people in government don’t want to look at this option of parliamentary system and they don’t want us to talk about it, this is because the presidential system suits them, and they are not bothered whether it suits Nigerians or not. This is why Nigeria is referred to as the headquarters of poverty in the world, and Nigeria is not poor, very few countries are as blessed as Nigeria in terms of mineral resources.
“Our problem is that of good leadership, because China that has seven times Nigeria’s population has in five years brought 750 million people from its population from abject poverty to better life. So, our problem is that of leadership. If you see a nation in a bad state like ours, it is good leadership it lacks.
“We must therefore stop lamentations and look for good leadership for our nation. And we should be able to identify good leaders and elect them, and if we fail to do this, we will continue to lament till eternity”, he said.
Former INEC secretary, Dr Hakeem Baba Ahmed, while delivering lecture at the occasion, commended Moral Initiative of Nigeria (MIN) for the thoughtful steps towards reminding Nigeria of the imperatives of its moral foundation at a point when the people are preparing to exercise their choices over leaders and parties.
He stressed the importance of raising awareness around immorality and the promotion of peace and love among Nigerians for the nation to “turn the tide against moral decay, the drift towards anarchy and the descent into the nightmare of the rule of terror, evil and violence.
“There is no value in discussing issues of morality, systems and process, legal system, policies and programmes and development in a nation such as ours without acknowledging that we are fundamentally a people of faith.
“How does a nation of people who accept the validity of good from evil, right from wrong also seems to tolerate the ignominy of being one of the most corrupt nations on earth; a nation that consigns a huge percentage of its population to the rings of the poorest in the world and one where the value of human life is virtually non-existent?”
Dr. Baba Ahmed tasked Nigerians ahead of the 2019 general elections to apply themselves demanding responsibilities in judging politicians, who will ask for their trusts and confidence; asking questions, each to the limit of his understanding and knowledge, of the politicians their character, abilities, motives and capabilities before voting for such people.
President of Moral Initiative of Nigeria, Yusuf Kazeem, said the initiative is a social movement aimed at eradicating the challenges that have affected every sphere of Nigeria, the frontiers of a new culture that restores Nigerians’ moral and ethical values.
“MIN works extensively in harmonizing and uniting Nigerians most especially the youth and children in the acts of reducing the menace of immoral acts with different strategies and supporting the less privilege, orienting them towards future-securing programmes.
“The target of Moral Initiative includes a united Nigeria where sentiment, ethno-religious bias with all forms of discrimination and immoral acts are expunged, where peace, love and harmony is the norm.”