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Proposal to Transform Nigeria’s Presidential System to a Parliamentary System Underway

by Vicky Oselumese
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Proposal to Transform Nigeria's Presidential System to a Parliamentary System

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On Wednesday, February 14, 60 members of the House of Representatives in Nigeria proposed a bill to transition from the current presidential system of government to a parliamentary system.

The bill was presented for first reading in the legislative chamber, highlighting the lawmakers’ desire for a change in the country’s governance structure.

Led by Wale Raji, a lawmaker representing Lagos state under the All Progressives Congress (APC), the group identified several reasons for advocating a return to the parliamentary system.

These reasons include reducing the cost of government and fostering robust policy debates among others. But what exactly is a parliamentary system of government?

In a parliamentary system, the party or coalition of parties with the majority representation in the parliament forms the government. The leader of this party becomes the prime minister or chancellor, responsible for the executive functions.

The minority parties serve as the opposition, challenging the ruling majority regularly. The parliamentary system originated in Britain and was adopted by several of its former colonies, including Nigeria.

Nigeria practiced the British-styled “Westminster” parliamentary system until the collapse of the First Republic in 1966 when military rule took over.

The country later adopted a US-styled presidential system in 1979, citing the tensions and acrimonious politics of the First Republic as reasons for the change.

This is not the first time Nigerian lawmakers have demanded a return to the parliamentary system. In 2018, 71 lawmakers made a similar demand, stating that the parliamentary system would facilitate economic growth and development through the quick passage of economic bills.

As the bill progresses through the legislative process, it remains to be seen if this change will become a reality for Nigeria’s future.

This article was updated 2 months ago

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