By Emma Amaize
ASABA- ALL Progressives Congress, APC, House of Representative candidate, Ndokwa/Ukwuani Federal Constituency, Delta State, Mr. Paul Odili, has said the proposed Bill by 71 members of House of Representatives seeking return to parliamentary system of government, was to distract Nigerians from focusing on the substantive issues of restructuring.
Odili, in a statement, stated, “The bill proposed by 71 House members for Nigeria to return to parliamentary system is populist driven to distract Nigerians from focusing on the substantive issue of restructuring. If the concern of the federal law makers is cutting cost as I think is partly the reason, then their proposal has not gone far enough.”
He said it would have been far-reaching, “If the bill proposes the parliament to become part-time given the size of the nation’s economy, there is no justification for the parliament to be full-time.”
“As a matter of fact, the number of adjournments and holidays enjoyed by parliamentarians makes the point that it should be made part-time. It will also be helpful if there is term limit on tenure of members of parliament. So far having limitless tenure has not brought great performance in terms of legislative duties and the freshness and dynamism expected. Instead, the vast majority of long-term members have been bench warmers,” he asserted.
His words, “We can still run the present system if the following is done under the present system- We end Nigeria’s bicameral legislature, there is no need to have the upper House, I believe the House of Representatives is adequate for our purposes as a nation and peg the number of federal appointees of the executive branch.”
“Again, there is no reason for the President to appoint more than 15 Ministers and five Special Advisers, Special Assistants can be drawn from the civil service. President Buhari has shown from beginning that he is in favor of small government. Despite pressure to increase cabinet size, he has found ways not to succumb.
“In fact, it is the National Assembly that has consistently used its lawmaking powers to expand the size of the federal government by proposing all manners of structures. Therefore, instead of proposing bills to reduce the number of MDAs, some of which have overlapping functions and, or are moribund, the reverse is the case now,” he said.
Odili asserted, “Any kind of reforms that does not demand a reduction in salaries, emoluments and indeed, other entitlements hidden and otherwise, is not a serious proposal and should be disregarded.”
“Nigerians seriously wants to know what financial burden they are saddled with. Our public officers are overfed and pampered, and this is across board. Indeed, around two million public servants, including civil servants in Nigeria consume roughly 80 percent of our national budget. This is unacceptable. Why will Nigeria under current circumstances not be the poverty capital of the world,” he stated.