-Says Nigeria can’t move forward without restructuring
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ONE of the founding members of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Prince Tony Momoh has said that the ruling party is populated by well-meaning and greedy people.
Prince Momoh who was a former minister of Information and veteran journalist also said that Nigeria would not make any progress until the country is restructured.
Speaking to Sunday Vanguard in Abuja, Prince Momoh who will be 80 years on April 27 contended that the country does not need two houses of the national assembly and 36 states as it is presently constituted.
He said that restructuring would be the only way of ensuring good governance in the country.
According to him, “Nigeria is too top heavy in administering governance and we need to decongest the political space. National Assembly makes law in 93 areas comprising the exclusive and concurrence lists.
“In federations worldwide, we don’t need more than 18. The rest should go to regions, they know what to do with it.
“The Senate will become the only lawmaking arm of the federation while the House of Representatives should go to the regions and be making laws for their people. When this happens, economic deregulation is automatic because everybody will contribute to run the center.
“We have experienced the parliamentary system and we are experiencing the presently experiencing a presidential system of government.
“Presidential government shared the powers of the people among shared among the legislature, judiciary and the executives. With these powers, they attract other areas to themselves.”
He noted that the survival of the APC depends on the type of people that would win elections after Buhari in 2023.
He said, “APC is populated by people who are well-meaning as well as greedy. If the greedy wins, then there will be trouble, if the well-meaning wins, then we thank God.”
On the recent N30,000 minimum wage bill that was assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari, Prince Momoh expressed the fears that the N30, 000 is not a living wage even as he said that it would lead to chaos.
He said, “My prediction is that the N30, 000 minimum wage will cause chaos because many state governments that were paying N7, 500 before N18, 000 was introduced could not pay them.
“A lot of them are currently finding it difficult to pay N18, 000 now. They are already saying they can’t pay and this would lead to strikes. When that happens, the nation is in trouble.
“The N30, 000 Minimum Wage is not a living wage. What is the percentage of the workers in Nigeria that are entitled to the N30, 000 minimum wage? What is the percentage of the public servants compared to the percentage of the entire working population in Nigeria?”
Also commenting on the CCT pronouncement on former Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, he said, “The CCT has powers to deal with sitting presidents and governors because Part one of the fifth schedule creates the Code of Conduct Bureau and the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
“Part two deals with those who are subjected to its jurisdiction, which is President, Vice President, CJN, down to councilors. The CCT is a disciplinary body.
“Walter Onnoghen is a public servant before he became the CJN. His case was directed to the Code of Conduct Bureau, which transferred it to CCT. The argument of some lawyers that he shouldn’t have been taken there is not tenable.
“They don’t know what they are talking about. I don’t believe that it is a case of a witch-hunt. I advised him (Onnoghen) to resign when the case started. That would have saved him from the embarrassment.”
He also said the reliance of the APC on party supremacy to impose its candidates on the National Assembly will not work, adding that the claims of party supremacy could only be effective in a parliamentary system of government because the political party with the majority would always form the government.
He recalled that efforts by political parties to impose their candidates on the nation’s parliament since 1999 have always been resisted by the federal lawmakers who would always want to choose their own leaders.
He said, “The National Assembly has its own personality that it protects in spite of political party differences. It has always been so since 1999. There has been no effective party supremacy.
“Party supremacy cannot be effective in the presidential system because it stands alone. It can only succeed if there is cooperation not by imposition.
“In 1999, Evans Enwerem was not the choice of the senators. They wanted Chuba Okadigbo. So, Enwerem did not last when he emerged. Also in 2015, the party wanted Femi Gbajabiamila but Yakubu Dogara got it.
“Since 1999, there have always been problems between the legislators and the party candidates. The legislators come together to pursue common interests and party supremacy is obviously not one of them.
“In the parliamentary system, the party with the majority will dominate leadership positions in the legislators. The prime minister is also a member of the parliament.”