Parliamentary system of government is a system of government in which a Prime Minister is the Head of government and the President is the Head of State and is usually ceremonial. The Prime Minister is chosen by the party not directly by the people. In Britain, for example, the Queen/King is the head of state, while the Prime Minister is chosen by the party that wins the majority of the votes or through coalition.
Until the January 1966 coup of Nigeria, Nigeria was practising a Parliamentary system of government. Nnamdi Azikwe was the President then, while Tafawa Balewa was the first and the only Prime Minister that Nigeria ever had. It was a coup de-tat by renegade Nigerian Military officers that jettison the system that was balanced that subsequently led to the changing of a system of government in Nigeria from Parliamentary to Presidential.
Unlike Presidential, Parliamentary system of government is less costly as the Prime Minister and other Ministers are part time workers, unlike in Presidential where there are senior and junior full time Ministers. Also the government is answerable to the Congress, unlike in Presidential like Nigeria – where resolution of the National Assembly is meaningless. The Parliamentary system is more suitable for multi cultured countries like Nigeria – where regions can backed a party based on their tribal and regional inclination. The procedure for removing a President is much easier in a Parliamentary system. Once the Prime Minister losses a vote of confidence or his coalition partners pull off, then the government will fall. But in a Presidential system, there will have to be a two third majority before even commencing the trial, the President will be called for a hearing, a committee will be set by the Chief Justice, the report will come back to the National Assembly before the impeachment continues. This is too enormous when it is urgent.
Nigeria is a country where tribal, regional, and party sentiments surpasses nationalism and patriotism. A tribal chauvinist is more honored than a nationalist. How can people of Southeast continue to love Ojukwu – who intended to divide Nigeria more than Gen T. Y Danjuma, Gawon and Buhari that fought for Nigeria’s unity? If Nigeria’s inclination is through tribal sentiments, then the Parliamentary system is better for Nigeria than Presidential.
If the Parliamentary system will not be allowed to come back, then why not Nigeria adopt the Swiss style of government? In Swiss style, the Parliament will choose many people from the major tribe(in the case of Nigeria)or from regions, each person will govern the country for a year and then will step down and become a minister till all the chosen candidates do their single year term before they will be replaced with other people. In Swiss style, the ultimate power rest with the National Assembly and they can do and undo at any time.
I call on the national assembly through a referendum to bring back our Parliamentary system, or adopt the Swiss style of government in Nigeria. If either of the two is accepted and well implemented, that will go along way in solving the crisis of regional, tribal and sectarian struggle and conflict of regions and tribes for leadership in Nigeria.
Comrade Abdulbaqi Aliyu Jari
Usmanu Danfodiyo University
Sokoto state of Nigeria