Estako Club ’81 has submitted a memorandum to the National Assembly on amendment of Nigeria’s constitution. This is contained in In a letter addressed to the National Assembly Joint Committee on Constitution Review.
The letter dated 22nd March 2021 and jointly signed by the National President of the club, Dr Mamudu Dako and its General Secretary, Bruno Oshoma, focused on forms and structures of government; national security; revenue sharing formula; devolution of power; and the Judiciary.
On the forms and structures of government, the Club noted that “Nigeria currently practices presidential system of government, which comprises the Central Executive (the President, over 43 ministers with several aids, special advisers and assistants). There is the Legislature (the national assembly i.e. the Senate (made up of 109 distinguished senators) and the House of Representatives (made up of 360 Honourable Members),” adding that “Senators and members of the House of Representatives have a large army of personal staff paid for by the government.”
“Almost the same structure is replicated across the 36 states of the Federation in addition to the 774 Local Government Councils. The result is that cost of Governance becomes humongous and unsustainable.”
The following are the Club’s recommendation; return to parliamentary system, where legislators will also be Ministers; Federate with Zones and Regions and not States; install unicameral legislature; and abolish the position of the Executive Governor as it is unnecessary.
In the aspect of National Security (the Police and Armed Forces), Estako Club ’81 said “the current security arrangement where Nigeria’s security is under a central command structure from Abuja, the nation’s capital, has been seen by many to be ineffective in combating the security challenges facing the country.”
The Club advised that “we adopt a decentralised structure of at least the Nigerian where each State and Local Government will have their own Police Force, like what obtains in the United States.”
On Revenue Sharing Formula, Estako Club ’81 said that the current formula for sharing revenue amongst the three tiers of Government is 52.68% to Federal Government, 26.72% to States, while 20.6% goes to the 774 Local Governments, with 13% derivation revenue going to the oil-producing States.
“We believe that this is inequitable, as the preponderant chunk of the accrued revenue goes to the centre, and very little to the federating units, particularly the units from which the revenues are generated.”
To correct this, the Club’s suggestion are; revert to the 1963 Revenue Sharing Formula; compel States to look inward in increasing their internally generated revenue through other sources outside of the present dependence on oil; and RMAFC be retained with some modifications to its composition.
On devolution of power, Estako Club ’81 believed the present arrangement where so much powers are concentrated at the centre with an over-bloated exclusive legislative list, undermines true federalism.
It suggested that the power of the centre should be reduced and only those powers that will mould the federating units should be retained exclusively by the centre, such as defence, external affairs, citizenship and currency.
On Judiciary, Estako Club ’81 said the nation’s judiciary “as currently structured is not designed to function efficiently and may never function efficiently. It is indeed ‘Unitary’ in nature but masquerading as a Federal one.”
It added that it is not healthy in proper federalism for the National Judicial Council (NJC) to make recommendations for appointment, promotion and discipline of judicial officers.
Estako Club ’81 proposed that NJC as a federal body should not be responsible for disciplining State Judges; NJC should be relieved of its responsibility of appointing Judges for various States of the country; the jurisdiction of the Federal High Courts should be limited strictly to issues pertaining to the revenue of the Federation; there should be a right to appeal from all decisions of the National Industrial Court to the Court of Appeal.
It also suggested that the jurisdiction of National Industrial Court should be limited to the trade, labour and employment disputes involving the Federal Government, its agencies, Federal Government workers and companies registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission; all matters should be handled by regional and State courts.
Estako Club ’81 further recommended that each region should have its own Regional Supreme Court which shall be the final court for all disputes from within the Region; Appeals shall lie from Region Supreme Court of Nigeria only with leave of the Supreme Court in matters involving the interpretation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The Club, in the copy of letter seen by ALEDEH News, said its leadership is prepared to appear before the committee for an oral presentation of the memorandum and to defend its views if need be.