By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA-Speaker, Federal House of Representatives, Honourable Yakubu Dogara has charged the federal government to take away the task of creating electoral constituencies from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and vest same on the National Boundary Adjustment Commission.
Dogara who gave the advice Monday in Abuja at the third annual political summit organised by the Save Democracy Africa, also called for the restructuring of the Nigerian State to enable the country realize her true potentials. According to Dogara, the slow pace of political and economic development in Nigeria is largely due to the inverse relationship in the powers vested in the federal government in relation to the federating states, adding that until more powers are devolved to the states, democracy would not avail the nation and her people its vast mileage.
“INEC should not be delineating constituencies as we believe that the job can be done better by the National Boundary Adjustment Commission. This will go a long way in ensuring that things are done the right way because the boundary adjustment commission can do a better job in this matter than the electoral empire,” said Honourable Edward Pwajok who represented Dogara at the summit.
He also described restructuring as an idea which time has come, stressing that it is wrong to regard advocates of restructuring as enemies of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Restructuring is long overdue and should not be seen as an opposition to the government of the day. As a matter of fact, power sharing between the federal and states governments should be revisited,” Dogara stated, adding that as a result of the defects in the Nigerian federalism, the country lags behind many nations of the world, even those less endowed with human and material resources.
Guest speaker at the summit and former President of Tanzania, Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete who spoke on the theme, “Reforming the Nigerian Federation-which way forward?” called on the nation’s political actors to reflect on the nation’s democratic journey and chat a new course.
According to him, reforms are necessary part of any nation’s attempt at deepening constitutional democracy, noting that Nigeria must not be afraid of taking the lead in the search for sustainable models of sustainable democracy and service delivery for the people of Africa.
“Undertaking reforms is a necessary step in the life of any nation. It is time for Nigeria to reflect and chart a new front as there is no specific blueprint for reforms. Nigeria must take the lead as the big brother in Africa,” he stated.
Earlier in his opening remarks, chairman, governing council of Save Democracy Africa, Senator Jonathan Zwingina chided existing political parties in the country for failing the ideological test in the continent saying, “It is sad to observe that the party system in some African countries, including Nigeria, does not portray clear ideological distinctions. Indeed, you could remove the names of the major political parties in Nigeria and swap their constitutions and there would be no substantial differences.
“Somehow, our major political parties have Conventions, Boards of Trustees, National Executive Committees, National Working Committees, States congresses, Local government congresses and ward congresses. The only difference is the dates they hold such congresses and meetings. The word ‘ideology’ is even missing in their constitutions and manifestoes,” he noted.