…as he swears-in 389 newly elected councillors
The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, on Tuesday disclosed that his administration adopted the Parliamentary System of Government at the Local Government level in fulfillment of the people’s wish in the state and to deepen democracy, as well as entrench genuine democratic practice at grassroots.
He said it was the overwhelming wish of the people, as stated in the report of the Barrister Gbadegesin Adedeji led committee on political reforms that parliamentary system of government be adopted. In adopting parliamentary system, the state government only complied with the wish of the people.
Governor Aregbesola made the disclosure while addressing the people at the swearing-in ceremony for Councillors representing wards in the Local Governments, Local Council Development Areas, Area Councils and Administrative Offices, held at the state secretariat, Abere, Osogbo.
He held that the experience in the First Republic will attest to the fact that parliamentary system deepens democracy and offers far greater political representation and governance effectiveness than any other system.
The governor argued that the decision to adopt parliamentary system of government was also in fulfilment of Section 7 (1) of the Nigerian constitution that requires that ‘The system of local government by democratically elected local government councils is under this Constitution guaranteed; and accordingly, the Government of every State shall, subject to section 8 of this Constitution, ensure their existence under a Law which provides for the establishment, structure, composition, finance and functions of such councils.’
He opined that the action of the state to resolve at the new system is not in anyway against the constitution or contrary to the tenets of democracy but rather helps to galvanize good governance and effective representation.
According to him, parliamentary system is more democratic, compared to the executive, in that the executive system tends towards dictatorship, arbitrariness and absolutism since power is concentrated in one man’s hand, with little or no check.
He added, ”our decision is not against the constitution, as quoted earlier. Nowhere did it mention executive or parliamentary – only that it must be democratic – and parliamentary system is as democratic as you can ever get.
“You will recall that in 2012, the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria asked for memorandum on the review of the 1999 Constitution. A 15-man committee was set up in Osun under the chairmanship of Barrister Gbadegesin Adedeji to aggregate the opinions and views from the state.
“The committee held public sittings for three weeks during which members of the public, institutions, nongovernmental organisations and others made submission.
”In the end, it was the overwhelming wish of the people, as stated in the committee’s report, that parliamentary system of government be adopted at all levels of government. What we have done therefore is to defer to the wish of the people in their clamour for parliamentary system of government.
“To appreciate this gesture, in a parliamentary system, the executive emerges from and is formed in the parliament, making the members of parliament to be members of the executive as well and the leadership of the executive to be first among equals, primus inter pares.
“In a parliamentary system, decisions are taken collectively and must be agreed upon by the majority in the house while members of the executive who are also parliamentarians can and are daily called to answer questions on any executive action taken.
“Because the executive members are appointed from parliament, a lot of cost is saved, compared to when fresh “persons have to be appointed as ministers, commissioners, chairmen of councils etc.
“This system saves campaign cost and reduces the impetus for corruption in that a candidate only need to campaign in his or her constituency, unlike in the executive system where a presidential candidate must tour the whole country and a governorship candidate must tour the whole state while a chairmanship candidate must tour the entire local council.
Charging the newly elected Councillors to be change agents that will transform governance at their local communities and deepen democratic practice with quality representation, Aregbesola said, “you must therefore listen to your people and give them access. Your status has placed you in a position of leadership, but not in a position of supremacy and tyranny over the people”.
In his remarks, the Speaker, Osun House of Assembly, Hon Najeem Folasayo Salam, said the adoption of Parliamentary System was strictly in line with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He said the House approved the Parliamentary System to run and govern the people at the grassroots having considered its numerous advantages to other forms and systems of government.
The speaker described the decision taken by the state to form the parliamentary as legal, constitutional and legitimate, saying it has no legal contradiction.
Salam expressed confidence in the fact that the Parliamentary system would strengthen democracy and democratic tenets and as well enthrone good governance at the local levels.