Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege has declared that Nigeria cannot practise unicameral legislature considering its large population and therefore urged agitators for the scrapping of the upper legislative chamber to jettison the idea.
This is even as he informed that the National Assembly lacks the powers to replace the 1999 Constitution with a new one as being clamoured by many Nigerians.
Calls for Nigeria which presently practice bicameral legislature with the Senate and House of Representatives to adopt a unicameral system by scrapping one of the legislative arm of government, especially the former, reverberated during the recent #EndSARS protests by the youth.
But Omo-Agege, who spoke when he hosted members of Alliance of Nigerian Patriots led by Ambassador Umunna Orjiako in Abuja, maintained that neither the President not National Assembly has the powers to act on the two matters.
He said: “One of the issues raised by #EndSARS protesters was that they should abolish the Senate and merge us with the House of Representatives. We are not in a position to do that. Mr. President is not even in a position to do that as well. Because they believe that he can just by fiat say ‘Senate bye bye. It will now be a National Assembly made up of only the House of Representatives’.
“But, as I said at a different forum, the President does not have such powers and I am not so sure that even we can legislate out the National Assembly.”
On the clamour for new Constitution, Omo-Agege, who chairs the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on Constitution Review, said the legislative arm of government could only amend the nation’s legal documents.
Citing advanced democracies like the United States where Nigeria’s presidential system of government is fashioned after as well as Sections 8 and 9 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), he informed that what is obtainable is piecemeal alteration of the Constitution.
He, therefore, urged those calling for a brand new Constitution to channel their energy towards participating actively in the ongoing amendment of the Constitution by the Ninth Assembly.
Earlier, Ambassador Orjiakor called for the reconfiguration of the present 36 states structure into six zones as federating units, drastic cut in the Exclusive Legislative List and expansion of the Concurrent Legislative List, reform of the National Assembly to a hybrid Presidential and Westminster systems, abolition of security votes to be replaced by regular security budget allocations and electoral reforms to ensure a truly independent INEC.
He also called for limited immunity for entitled public officers in the Executive branch of government, provision for independent candidacy in all elections, creating a consensual balance between meritocracy and federal character among others.
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