Conference Committee recommends sack of Senate


The National Conference Committee on Political Restructuring and Forms of Government is seeking for the elimination of the Senate.
The delegates, that adopted and recommended a modified Presidential system of government for the country, said the Senate was not only a waste on the resources of the country but has not succeeded in performing its legislative duties to Nigerians effectively.
The decision followed extensive debate on the recommendations of a 11-member sub-committee chaired by AVM Mohammed Mukhtar.
The sub-committee noted that the need to evolve a novel system of government that would be beneficial to Nigerians has became apparent considering the results of past and extant system the country has experienced and still going through.
After two adjournments and extended time, the Committee, co-Chaired by Gen. Ike Nwachukwu and Hon Mohammed Kumaila agreed and recommended that there shall be a President that has one constituency, which is Nigeria.
After the second adjournment with deliberation extending past the official 6.00pm to 7.15pm, 15 members sat and adopted the recommendations.
The proposed modified Presidential system also provided that the President would run for the office on a joint ticket with a Vice President.
It was also recommended that there shall be a Vice President that would be selected from the legislature by the President.
The Committee rejected automatic ticket for the President that would have two terms of four years.
The second term is subject to election, the Committee recommended.
President would have full responsibility for his government with full right to select his cabinet from among members of the legislature.
It was recommended that the President would select not more than 30 percent from outside the legislature, that would take care of technocrats and other competences.
The Committee has also recommended a novel feature of a quarterly question time by the President before the legislature.
This, the Committee said was for the purposes of enhancing accountability, while the cabinet can take theirs as the need arises.
Annual State of the nation address by the President was also recommended by the Committee for the enhancement of transparency and accountability.
In the event that the office of the President becomes vacant, it was recommended that the Vice President be  sworn in as Acting President within 90 days for a new President to be elected.
The Committee also recommended the recognition of the principle of rotation of political offices by the constitution.
According to the members, the situation in the country justifies the principle to address perceived and real injustice in political appointments.
Unicameral legislature, of proportion representation to guarantee minority and special rights on full time basis was also recommended.
The delegates opined that the current system encourages too much waste of government resources.
The Committee said its decision was based on the need to reduce the cost of the Senate on government, as well as its inability to be thorough in some of its  responsibilities like the confirmation of President nominees for public offices.
The Committee recommends a tenure of office of four years for the legislators.
Election to the legislature has no limit on number of terms a legislator can be re-elected, it was suggested.
Furthermore, it was also recommended that election into the legislature should be staggered to disallow vacuum at any point in time.
The Committee  however urged  its members to consider for deliberation the establishment of an agency that would be responsible for screening prospective public officer.
The agency, according to the sub-Committee that could be named ‘National Conscience and Integrity Committee/Commission’ would seek to address frictions that comes with appointment of certain key officers by the President.
The Committee or Commission is expected to check the excesses of the President on the appointment of such critical officers, especially those on the first line charge.
 The Committee sought the recognition of the proposed Commission or Committee by the constitution.
The recommendations are subject to the ratification of the plenary.