Tony Momoh Cautions APC On Imposition Of Leaders On National Assembly
Prince Tony Momoh/Photo:

Prince Tony Momoh, former Minister of Information has criticised the move made by the All Progressives Congress, imposing leaders on the National Assembly.

The former minister while addressing the press on Friday in Abuja as part of the event to mark his 80th birthday said the claims of party supremacy could only be effective in a parliamentary system of government because the party with the majority would always form the government.

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He added that efforts by parties to force their candidates on the parliament since 1999 had always been resisted by the lawmakers.

Momoh said, “The National Assembly has its own personality that it protects despite party differences. It has always been so since 1999. There has been no effective party supremacy.

“Party supremacy cannot be effective in the presidential system because it stands alone. It can only succeed if there is cooperation, not by imposition.

“In 1999 Evan Enwerem was not the choice of the senators. They wanted Chuba Okadigbo. So, Enwerem did not last when he emerged. Also in 2015, the party wanted Femi Gbajabiamila but Yakubu Dogara got it.

“Since 1999 there have always been problems between the legislators and the party candidates. The legislators come together to pursue common interests and party supremacy is obviously not one of them.

“In the parliamentary system, the party with the majority will dominate leadership positions in the legislature. The prime minister is also a member of the parliament.”

The lawyer also advocated political restructuring as a way of ensuring good governance in the country.

He said, “Nigeria is too top-heavy in administering governance and we need to decongest the political space. The National Assembly makes law in 93 areas comprising the exclusive and concurrent lists.

“In federations worldwide, we don’t need more than 18. The rest should go to regions; they know what to do with them.

“The Senate will become the only lawmaking arm of the federation while the House of Representatives should go to the regions and be making laws for their people. When this happens, economic deregulation is automatic because everybody will contribute to run the centre.

“We have experienced the parliamentary system and we are experiencing a presidential system of government.”

According to Momoh, the survival of the APC depends on the type of people that will win elections after President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.

Momoh expressed his fear that the minimum wage of N30, 000 signed into law by Buhari on Thursday would lead to chaos.

He said, “My prediction is that the N30, 000 minimum wage will cause chaos because many state governments that were paying N7, 500 before N18, 000 was introduced could not pay their workers.

“A lot of them are currently finding it difficult to pay N18, 000 now. They are already saying they can’t pay and this would lead to strikes. When that happens, the nation is in trouble.

“The N30, 000 minimum wage is not a living wage. What is the percentage of the workers in Nigeria that are entitled to the N30, 000 minimum wage? What is the percentage of the public servants compared to the percentage of the entire working population in Nigeria?”

He backed the Code Conduct Tribunal’s decision on Walter Onnoghen.

He said, “Walter Onnoghen was a public servant before he became the CJN. His case was directed to the Code of Conduct Bureau, which transferred it to the CCT. The argument of some lawyers that he shouldn’t have been taken there is not tenable.”