Former Gov. Victor Attah of Akwa Ibom has advocated a return to the parliamentary system of government in Nigeria so as to enable communities to select and elect people to represent them.
Attah said that the presidential system of government, currently practised in the country, was too expensive and, therefore, should be changed.
He made the proposal at a virtual Public Policy Dialogue, organised by Ricchezza Initiative for Social Empowerment, monitored in Uyo.
The former governor said that a government that must impact on the people ought to originate from the people at the grassroots and maintain regular interface with them.
Attah said that the cost of elections in the presidential system had robbed the masses of the allegiance of their representatives.
He said that public office holders now strove to satisfy the yearnings of their sponsors, to the detriment of the people who voted them into power.
“I came here with something: come let us reason together because I know that whatever you are, whatever your exposure, however intelligent you are, you can’t do it alone.
“You must have a community that works with you, one that tells you what their needs are, one that tells you what their demands are and leadership means being able to fulfil those things for the people.
“Today, people do not truly communicate with their representatives because they do not really seriously need their vote to get into offices.
“That is why the presidential system is not working for Nigeria.
“The parliamentary system made it possible for those representing the community to be elected by the community; not the party, not the law court.
“The people would know who they want. You cannot rig the conscience of the people.
“The cost of election today is tremendously expensive, making it difficult for public office holders to do what the communities want. They do what the sponsors want.
“To campaign across the country in the case of presidential election, or across the state for those contesting as governors, you need a lot of money.
“So, the moment you are sworn into office, you focus on your sponsors,” he added.
Attah reiterated that the adoption of parliamentary system of government would give room to true federalism, where the federating units would be able to take full control of their resources.
Mr Udeme Etukayin of Ricchezza Initiative for Social Empowerment, who anchored the forum, said that the policy engagement series was designed to x-ray views, with the aim of evaluating solution-driven leadership and governance in Africa.
He said that Attah was selected as the Lead Speaker in the forum because of his wealth of experience and past achievements.