Odili: Bill on Parliamentary System Staged to Distract Call for Restructuring


Martins Ifijeh

The Parliamentary System of Government Bill presently being proposed by 71 House of Representative members is driven to distract Nigerians from focusing on substantive issue of restructuring, the All Progressive Congress candidate for Ndokwa /Ukwuani federal constituency, Paul Odili, has stated.

Odili said if the concern of the lawmakers is to cut cost of governance, they should rather end the bicameral legislature system as there is no need for the upper legislature.

In a statement made available to THISDAY yesterday, and signed by Odili, he said only the House of Representative was enough to make laws for the country, adding that laws can also be put in place to peg the number of federal appointees by the executive branch.

“There is no reason for a president to appoint more than 15 ministers and five special advisers. Special assistants can be drawn from the civil service.

“President Muhammadu 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. As a matter of fact, it is the National Assembly that has consistently used their law making powers to expand the size of the federal government by proposing all manners of structures.

“Instead of proposing bills to reduce the number of ministries, departments and agencies, some of which have overlapping functions and, or are moribund, the reverse is the case at the moment,” he said.

Odili said any kind of reforms that does not demand a reduction in salaries, emoluments and other entitlements hidden and otherwise is an unserious proposal should be disregarded.

He said: “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 per cent of our national budget. This is unacceptable. Why won’t Nigeria under current circumstances be the poverty capital of the world?

“For the size of our 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,” he added.