• Seek conduct of all elections same day


From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja

Some members of the House of Representatives have proposed a bill to alter the 1999 Constitution (as amended)  to provide for a single tenure of six years for the president and governors.

The lawmakers are also proposing a bill for the rotation of the office of the president, governors and local government chairmen in the six geo-political zones, and constituent parts of states and council areas, respectively.

The bills sponsored by Ikeagwuonu Ugochinyere, Paul Nnamchi, Chimaobi Atu and 27 others are also seeking the alteration of the Constitution to provide for two vice presidents in the country.

The lawmakers are equally pushing for an amendment of the Electoral Act to provide for the conduct of presidential, governorship, national  and state assembly polls on the same day.

Ugochinyere, while  speaking on the bills at a press briefing, in Abuja, said the bills, if passed into law, would address issues of governance, including the reduction of cost of governance and campaigns, uniting the country, and ensuring a seamless transition, among others.

“There is no doubt that our country is in desperate need of a long-lasting solution to our poor economic situation, insecurity, disunity, weak institutions, weak health and education sector, corruption in public sectors, and waste of state resources.

“We have now reached a critical phase where what is at stake is the very survival of Nigeria as one political and economic unit. We must rise to the challenge, and what we do with this opportunity given to us by our people matters a lot.”

Ugochinyere explained that “on governance, we are proposing “a constitutional alteration to provide for the rotation of executive powers among the six geopolitical zones to ensure equal representation and reduce the desperation and tempo of agitation for the creation of states.

“To amend Section 3 of the Constitution to provide for the recognition of the division of Nigeria into six geopolitical zones.

“To amend the Constitution to provide for a single tenure of six years for the president and governors of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The reduction in government spending and wastage, efficiency in governance, and national stability by providing a single term of six years for the president and governors.

“Amend the Constitution to create the office of two vice presidents from the southern and northern parts of Nigeria. The first vice president shall be a succession vice president, while the second vice president shall be a minister in charge of the Economy.

“Constitutional amendment to provide that the president and the first vice president shall come from the same part of the country (north or south) and the first vice president shall become president whenever the president becomes incapacitated, i.e, V.P. (Succession), and V.P.  (Administration and Economy). “

The lawmaker added that the proposed legislations, which have already gone through the first reading and awaiting second reading, include financial autonomy and accountability of local government councils by prescribing an independent Consolidated Local Government Council Account solely superintended by local councils and prescribing long-term imprisonment for any misuse of local government funds.

“To amend section 162(5) of the 1999 Constitution to provide that where a state government fails to remit to the local government councils within its jurisdiction (or within the state), the amounts standing to the credit of that local government in the allocation from the federation account, such a state government shall not be entitled to receive future allocation from the Federal Government.”

Ugochinyere, further stated that on electoral reforms, the lawmakers are proposing for an amendment of “the relevant sections of the Electoral Act to ensure that all elections (presidential, governorship, national assembly, state houses of assembly, and local governments) are held on the same day.

“Amending the relevant sections of the Electoral Act to provide that no declaration of a winner of an election shall be done by the relevant INEC officials until such officer has compared the results with the list of accredited voters and ensured that the results to be declared are in tandem with the list of accredited voters and the B-VAS machine or any other electronic device.

“Amend the Electoral Act to provide that any INEC officer who declares a false result will be liable for civil and criminal action personally brought against him by parties in the elections.

“An amendment to the Electoral Act to provide that all election-related litigations must be resolved and determined by the Elections Petitions Tribunal, Appeal Courts, etc, before the winners are sworn into the respective elective offices.

“An amendment of the Electoral Act to make provision for the conduct and conclusion of all elections and election-related litigation within a period of six months before the swearing into office of the validly elected person for the office contested.

“An amendment of the Electoral Act to provide that all election-related documents and materials must be made available to those who participated in elections and who have reasons to question/petition the elections at the elections tribunal.”

The lawmaker solicited the support of Nigerians to ensure that all the bills scaled through in the House, noting that, “This task aheady of us is huge and cannot be achieved without you. It is a task for all of us. Our work does not go beyond taking the initiative to get them into the parliament. To ensure that the bills are successful is on us all.”

He added: “Ours is a commitment to building a united, stable, and prosperous nation, and with your contribution, cooperation, and support, Nigeria can and must become a great and modern nation. With true conscience and determination, let us join hands and re-dedicate ourselves to the service of this great country so that it will be a place we can be proud of.”

Meanwhile, Minority Leader of the House, Kingsley Chinda, (PDP-Rivers), has called for a return to the parliamentary system of government.

Chinda, who made the call yesterday in Abuja, said there was a need to practice homegrown parliamentary system of government to address the challenges facing the country.

The lawmaker explained that the current presidential system of government was copied without recourse to native background.

According to him, the current system is skewed towards failure, considering our background, experiences and diversity, which should be an advantage to us.

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