By Daud Olatunji
ABEOKUTA – Veteran politician and son of former Premier of old Western Region, Chief Niyi Adegbenro, has linked the Presidential system of government being practised in Nigeria to the high level of corruption in the country.
Adegbenro, who was a former director of defunct Allied Bank, described the system as too expensive, said the system is prone to abuse and gives room for corruption.
He however, advocated the return to the parliamentary system and part time legislature, which he argued, would throw up politicians with genuine interest of the nation as opposed to a majority of the politicians currently in the corridors of power, who were there for their selfish interest.
He noted that Presisdent Muhammadu Buhari would do his best to reduce corruption, but what would happen after his exit.
He advised the current administration to organise a special conference or a referendum on parliamentary system of government.
He said, “Parliamentary system of government is the best to reduce corruption. Buhari will do his bit but at the same time, when he leaves office, what happens?
“So, I’m still saying that there must be a special conference or referendum to determine which system of government to be adopted in Nigeria.
“Presidential system of government is also too expensive to run, and it is prone to abuse. That is why we are confronted with stories of graft in the newspapers everyday.”
Adegbenro who expressed his support for the frequent foreign trips by President Buhari, noted that such international engagement was needed to reposition Nigeria’s economy.
He also canvassed support for the policy thrusts of the president and the Central Bank of Nigeria to ensure the country’s financial and economic recovery.
The Egba chief described as “unwarranted” the criticisms against Buhari’s frequent travelling abroad.
Defending Buhari, he recalled that former President Olusegun Obasanjo embarked on similar foreign trips in the early part of his administration and went on to successfully secure a debt relief for the country.
He explained that Buhari’s foreign economic engagements were in the best interest of the nation, arguing that Nigerians would soon begin to witness good dividends from the trips.
He said, “Let us give Buhari the opportunity as far as I’m concerned. I’m not saying he is a messiah, but he is a redeemer. His economic policy has been transforming Nigeria but the result of it will come out in another one year or so.
“The man was part of the system so many years ago, now he has come to reshape the country. Let us pray for him. Let us continue to appeal to Nigerians; anything that is going to be good needs a little bit of perseverance.”
Adegbenro also faulted the incessant attacks against the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, over the management of foreign exchange policy of the apex bank.
He said, “The current forex situation is mainly the aftermath of the sharp fall in global oil prices by about 65 per cent. Since Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves accretion depends on oil for about 90 per cent of inflows, this fall has affected Nigeria negatively. Note that this is a global problem and not a country-specific.
“The CBN, I believe, has applied the correct response by dimensioning demand for forex and has excluded items we can produce locally so as to ensure that the scarce forex remaining is allocated to manufacturers and raw materials imports.
“On moving Nigeria forward, both the President and the CBN are embarking on a sustained policy and action of diversifying the economy away from dependence on oil. This is critical to ensure that both our revenues and forex reserve accretion are not adversely affected by changes in the price of oil.
“That is why the CBN has been very forceful in deploying its development finance funds for manufacturing, Small and Medium Enterprises, and agriculture. Since these are structural changes, it may take a while but the benefits are already being felt gradually.”