#Confab: Structure Of Government Should Be First On Agenda – Abugu

A Lecturer in the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, Professor Joseph Abugu, on Monday said that the first agenda that should be discussed at … Continue reading #Confab: Structure Of Government Should Be First On Agenda – Abugu


Professor Joseph AbuguA Lecturer in the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, Professor Joseph Abugu, on Monday said that the first agenda that should be discussed at the on-going National Conference should be the structure of government.

Mr Abugu made the call while speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily.

Despite the complaints that have been made about the National Conference, Abugu stated that the platform was a welcome development which became important as a result of the level of discontentment on the part of the people.

While expressing his expectation that the Conference would address all issues, he noted that the structure of government should be first on the agenda.

“The first thing that must be addressed is the structure of the government of this country” as what the country is currently operating on “is defective in certain fundamental respects.”

Alluding to what the founding fathers of the nation had subscribed to as the best, Abugu said “a government with some centre and regional representations, assemblies was the best thing for the country.”

He adjudged the 1963 constitution as the best which was interrupted by the military, followed by a diversion into a unitary system of government. “That has continued, even into the third republic and the fourth republic. The structure is still unitary.”

“We call ourselves a Federal System of government but what we are actually practicing is a Unitary System of government.”

“In 1963, the exclusive legislative list had only about 46 items; in 1999, we had 66” he argued, decrying the increase of the items in the democratic structure compared to the number of items during the military regime which used the Unitary command structure.

Abugu expressed his dissatisfaction with a democratic system of government with a centre that has waxed stronger than that obtainable in the military regime.

He maintained that “it is a good thing that this conference has come to bear. It has been a subject of national discourse even under the Obasanjo administration and the issue was whether we should have a National Conference and whether it should be sovereign.”

Beyond this, Abugu stated that there was a greater need for the units, “whether states or ethnic nationalities” to discuss the Nigerian nation as a result of the discontent in the entire country.

The lecturer disregarded the arguments that the National Conference should have been constituted based on ethnic nationalities, insisting that all the constituent units have been assembled, and “whether you call them ethnic nationalities, whether you call them States or Local Governments, some form of representation has to be devised.”

He further stated that “however imperfect it is, the National Conference has been constituted”.

On the different issues recorded in the first week of convening the Conference, Abugu said “it is expected” as the whole essence was to bring all grievances to the table, hence “in the process of doing that, issues of the sitting order, the procedure, items on the agenda have to be discussed.”

“I haven’t seen anything unexpected in these few days,” he maintained.