Yakassai Backs Power Rotation, Seeks Nigeria’s Return to Parliamentary System

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Tanko Yakassai

By Uche Nnaike

An elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, has called for a return to the parliamentary system of government in Nigeria to end the allegation of marginalisation by some parts of the country.

He also made a case for zoning of political power, saying zoning and power rotation will take care of the aspiration of different groups in the country.

According to him, once power goes round at least once or twice everyone will be reassured that they will get the opportunity to produce the president.

Yakassai, who was a guest on the Morning Show, a programme on ARISE News Channel, the broadcast arm of THISDAY Newspapers, yesterday said his endorsement of zoning was not his best choice, but that he had to realise that the stability of the country should be paramount.

“I am still feeling that if the military had allowed us to continue from the Second Republic without any interference, probably the Nigerian people on their own would have jettisoned rotation and zoning and realised that everyone should be considered on his own merit, but unfortunately the military scuttled the journey. So, we are going back to square one anytime the military intervenes,” he explained.

He said he was originally in support of the presidential system of government with the belief that if the whole country is the president’s constituency, the president will devote his attention to every part of the country.

According to him, this will end the allegation of marginalisation by different sections of the country.

“Unfortunately, this is not our experience in Nigeria. So if I have my way, I will recommend that we go back to the parliamentary system of government,” he said.

The former liaison officer to late President Shehu Shagari noted that the problem with the presidential system, which Nigeria copied from America is that power is concentrated in the hands of the chief executives, president and governor.

Yakassai said: “All the complaints that we are hearing about corruption is associated with that. It is so because under the presidential system, you cannot remove the president except by a resolution of the two chambers of the National Assembly, supported by two-thirds of the total membership.

“It is known that it is not a difficult thing for a president or governor to corner one-third of the membership of the legislature and make them to vote against anyone who is thinking of going back to any system other than the one that vested power in them. This is a big predicament in Nigeria.”

However, he said in the parliamentary system, only a simple majority is needed in the parliament to pass a vote of no confidence in the government.

“So, when the government is not performing, all the members need to do is to move a vote of no confidence and when the vote is checked and a single majority is in favour of the motion, the government will leave and a new one will be set up and the fear of that alone will make whoever is in power to ensure that he does not do anything that will warrant a vote of no confidence in his administration.”