RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE KANO EMIRATE COUNCIL
TO THE NATIONAL POLITICAL REFORMS CONFERENCE CONVENED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA
IN FEBRUARY, 2005
As a result of the constitution of the National Political Reforms Conference by the Federal Government of Nigeria in February, 2005, the Conference was mandated to discuss, analyse and offer recommendations on sensitive areas that affect the political future of the Country. Consequently, the Kano Emirate Council felt highly obliged and appropriate to forward the following recommendations in accordance with the conference’s objectives, following the sequence of the terms of reference infra:-
(a) Constitutional Reforms
(b) Political Party Reforms
(c) Electoral Reforms
(d) Judicial/Legal Reforms
(e) Civil Society Reforms
(f) Consultations and Consensus Building
(g) Police/Prison Reforms
(h) Reforms of the structure of Government/Governance
2.0 RECOMMENDATIONS ON ITEMS (a-g)
A. CONSTITUTIONAL REFORMS
Kano Emirate Council is of the view that Nigeria should revert from the Presidential to Parliamentary System of government for the following reasons:-
(1) It is easier to formulate and Implement government policies under the Parliamentary System of Government.
(2) It simplifies elections processes, as candidates are only limited to their own constituencies.
(3) Elected officials coordinate the affairs of the Nation peacefully with mutual understanding.
(4) The procedure of appointing the Prime Minister in the Parliamentary System, minimizes the hectic competition and rivalry among the aspiring candidates.
(5) The inherent obstacles and misunderstanding between the executive, judiciary and the legislature under the Presidential System could be resolved under the Parliamentary System with the necessary system of checks and balances.
(6) Moreover, the Presidential System of Government is very expensive to operate.
(7) The checks and balances within the 1999 constitution could not effectively provide solutions to the inherent religious, ethnic, sectional and other problems. Consequently, there is urgent need to adopt a flexible constitution workable in a Nigerian situation that could comfortably respect and accommodate our differences.
(8) In the Parliamentary System a 5 year term is normally specified for the Prime Minister while in the Presidential System we operate a
4 year term for the President. The former therefore, is more accommodating, and realistic to the Nigerian situation.
(9) The appointment of Ministers should be within the elected members of the House. However, the constitution should allow appointment of a determined number of independent candidates as ministers, such people must be of proven integrity, experience, honesty and respect.
(10) Under the Parliamentary System, the President is ceremonial while the Prime Minister is the Head of Government. It is recommended that this arrangement should be adopted.
(11) For reasons of security, stability and convenience the number of the existing 36 States with FCT Abuja and the 774 Local Government Councils should remain unchanged.
(12) Under the present dispensation the indiscriminate appointments of advisers, and others should be minimized to save costs. However, appointment to the Federal and State institutions based on merit, National outlook, and Federal character should continue.
(13) In the States, the position of Governors should be ceremonial, while Premiers should be heads of government, and must also be elected members of their respective Houses of Assembly.
(13b.) Appointment of Commissioners should be from the elected members of the House in an effort to discourage non elected partisans. However, concession should be given to premiers to appoint not more than ¼ of the Commissioners, outside subject to approval of the House.
(14) In the Local Government Areas, elected Councillors should nominate the Chairman among themselves.
(14b.) Elected Councillors should serve as policy makers as well as
Supervisory Councillors, thereby discouraging nominating others from outside.
(14c) There should be no provision for L.G. Advisers and Supervisory Councillors, this will also help to save cost.
(15) Political Parties under the Parliamentary System are more recognized, and respected unlike in the Presidential System in which they are relegated to the background, and marginalised.
(15b) Party manifestos of the political parties under the Parliamentary System are more apparent and respected unlike in the Presidential System on which, the focus are more on wining the elections.
(16) It is recommended that the Legislative System should have two Houses i.e. Representatives and the Senate.
(16b) Membership of the Senate should be on equal representation by states based on nomination comprising Paramount Chiefs from each State.
(16c) Constituencies and Membership in to the House of Representatives should be based on population.
(16d) States should have House of Chiefs as its Second House, comprising of one Chief from each Local Government Area, nominated by the State Premier in consultation with State Council of Chiefs.
(16e) Legislative System at the Local Government level should remain as it is.
B. POLITICAL PARTY REFORMS
Kano Emirate Council is of the opinion that if the following suggestions are implemented the Political Parties will be more functional:-
(1) The Multi Party System should be maintained but has to be controlled and reinforced with guidelines that will prohibit few individuals to form political parties.
(2) Sources of funding Political Parties either by individuals, groups or associations, must be ascertained to be legitimate. Donors should provide consecutive 3 year tax clearance certificates, to confirm authenticity of the source of income.
(3) Amount to be donated to each Political Party must be specified by the Authority concerned.
(4) The committee of elders should be empowered within each Political Party from Federal, States and Local Government Councils to have the mandate to confirm candidates that will contest for elective posts not through primaries.
(5) Under present circumstance the Political Parties’ main aims/objectives are focused on wining elections, sidelining their ideological manifestos. Consequently, the political atmosphere is becoming rowdy, as a result of the active participation of ignorant party members and thugs. Political Parties should therefore educate and emphasize to their members and or supporters their ideology and manifestos.
(6) There is the need to impose strict guidelines that will instill decency, stability and accountability within the political parties. This will include annual budget and auditing of the political parties’ account by independent registered auditors.
(7) There should be proper screening of aspiring candidates by the Party Committee of Elders, Police, SSS and INEC, respectively.
(8) The amount a candidate is expected to spend during electioneering campaign must be specified by the Political Party’s constitutions. Excessive use of money by the candidates may lead to disqualification.
(9) INEC should be empowered to disqualify any discredited candidate, and should clearly define the criteria for selecting a candidate by the political parties.
(10) Enforcement of Electoral Laws should be encouraged to ensure political stability within the political parties.
C. ELECTORAL REFORMS
Kano Emirate Council has the following recommendations under this clause:-
(1) Independent Electoral Commission with direct allocation from the legislature must be maintained and should not be controlled by the President, the Prime Minister or Premiers. The Commission should have adequate finances; operational laws and appointment of members should have a National spread and Federal Character.
(2) Strict enforcement of electoral laws to discourage rigging in all its facets, particularly the use of security agents.
(3) Adoption of a Parliamentary System will minimize electoral malpractices, excessive use of money, misuse of security agents and electoral rigging.
D. JUDICIAL/LEGAL REFORM
The Council is fully conscious of the complex nature of the Nigerian Society, and the need to find a unified judicial/legal system that will accommodate our various and divergent interests, is very necessary. However, the Council is of the view that if these recommendations are effected, the judicial/legal system of the country will be more effective and efficient:-
(1.) Any state aspiring to practice the Sharia Legal System should be allowed to implement it without let or hindrance.
(2.) The Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court should be given wider Jurisdictions to accept cases of appeal from States Sharia Courts of Appeal.
(3.) Efforts should be intensified to improve the conditions of serving and retired Judges/Officers as their Counter parts in the executive arm of government.
(4.) Government should provide adequate funds and logistics that will empower the judiciary operate effectively and independently.
Funds budgeted for the Judiciary and approved by the Legislature should be released to it without delay or any interpearance by the Executive.
E. CIVIL SOCIETY REFORMS
For Nigerians to live in peace, harmony and tranquility the following measures have to be enforced:-
(1.) The Principles of Compromise, tolerance, understanding and respect among Nigerians of various denominations, social, cultural, and ethnic differences, have to be encouraged vigorously and faithfully enforced.
(2.) The formation of Fora (Zauran Sulhu) to discuss and resolve areas of conflicts and misunderstanding between the disputing/warring parties at all levels should be encouraged and enforced.
(2b.) The conduct of the fora should be under the Committees of Traditional Rulers, Paramount Chiefs and Selected Elders.
(3.) The social problems that facilitate civil disorders such as Almajirai System of begging, school dropouts, unemployed youth, etc. must be addressed at all levels of govt.. The Council has appreciated the current effort of Kano State Government in the attempt to eradicate and or minimize the above enumerated problems.
(4.) Collective efforts are urgently required to control and prevent mass Rural-Urban drift, increasing number of political thuggary, cultism, armed robbery and other related social evils.
(5.) There is a need to review the disturbing clause in the ECOWAS treaty which facilitates free movement among West African people, which resulted in making our National boarders porous and our cities full of people of doubtful character.
(6.) Moreover, low productivity as a result of massive closure of the industries and the decline of productivity in the Agricultural sector, coupled with the inability of the public sector to accommodate, the resultant economic crunch and pressure, are rapidly increasing the tension and aggression among the Nigerian Populace. The council is therefore recommending immediate solutions to these socio-economic problems.
(7.) The traditional bond of the Nigerian Extended Family System is gradually declining because of the economic pressure, consequently the family attachment and welfare packages of the system is becoming loose. The Council recommends that the 3 tiers of government must jointly address the social economic problems, as well as ensuring security among the Nigerian citizens.
(8.) Similarly, the Council recommends speedy trial of armed robbery suspects and other criminal cases by Special Tribunals, to be headed by a Retired Judge of the High Court for reasons of convenience and expediency.
(9.) The Council, has observed with dismay the inability of poor Nigerians to get access to Legal Aid, more especially in Civil Cases; therefore, the Council is hereby recommending for the extension of Legal Aid System to cover both Criminal and Civil Cases.
(10.) Furthermore, where there is over preponderance of litigation, more divisions of the Court of Appeal should be created to bring justice nearer to the people.
F. POLICE AND PRISON REFORMS
The Council felt that among the reasons for the decline of police
performance and efficiency was the merger of N.A. Police into the
Nigeria Police Force in 1966. The reasons for the merger were based on
the assumption that the Local N.A Police was then used and involved in
politics resulting in political victimization coupled with the fear that the
N.A. Police in one section of the Federation was acquiring weapons
and becoming stronger than others.
The Council is of the view that under the present circumstances in the
Country, the Nigeria Police Force could not be exonerated from being
involved in politics. Moreover, the proliferation and illegal importation of
sophisticated weapons into the Country could not justify the historical
reasons advanced for the merger.
In view of these prevailing circumstances, the Council is recommending
the following measures:-
(1) The current Unified Police System has concretized and over centralized the powers in the hands of the Inspector General of Police. This facilitates the misuse of police funds, manipulations of transfers and postings by the I.G. This resulted in the general inefficiency of the entire police force system. Moreover, this negative trend has helped tremendously in accelerating corruption among the entire force. There is therefore the need to remedy the situation by decentralising the Nigeria Police Force.
(2) Language, Religious and Cultural barriers, contributed to the ineffectiveness of the Police Force, because of their inability to familiarise and associate freely with people in the area they are posted, as such they could not obtain useful and security information and this renders them in effective in the day to day discharge of their duties and responsibilities.
(3) The decentralisation should either be based on the States or the six geo-political zones of the Country.
(4) For the decentralized commands to be effective and efficient the recruitments, postings, transfers and disciplinary actions of all Officers from the rank of Constable to ASP should be from that command. While ASP to DSP must be from the political zones, and DSP-AIG could be subject to posting to any part of the Country.
(5) The Commands should be funded directly not through I.G. However, funding of the commands should be the responsibilities of the 3 tiers of Government, with specification and guidelines.
(6) The proposed decentralized commands should be administered under a Strong Police Committee headed by a retired Judge as Chairman with operational commander who will be supervising the entire command professionally.
(7) Re-integrating the Traditional Authority into the security services of the Country and the proposed commands will surely blend and enhance the performance of the Country’s entire security system.
(8) In order to have an equilibrium between the States and the Federal Government, there should be a stronger and capable Federal Mobile Police Force that will monitor the National and International boarders, handle inter-state conflicts, riots etc.
(8b) Its operation within a State should be on request from the Governor on the advice of the Premier. However, in certain cases the Federal Government can order a direct intervention if it is discovered that such a state has interest in the a rising situation.
(8c) The Federal Government should station well equipped command in each State/Zone with CID and SSS that will make the command effective and efficient in its operation.
The Council concurred with the general opinion that The Nigerian Prisons need to be reformed, to be corrective rather than punitive. In order to make them corrective the following measures have to be taken:-
(1.) Decongest the prisons through speedy trial of inmates/prisoners awaiting trial.
(1b.) Moreover, special committees under the leadership of retired Judges should be set up, charged with the responsibilities of reviewing and acquitting prolonged minor cases and making appropriate recommendations on major cases to the Chief Judge for possible further action.
(1c.) There is the need to expand the existing number of prisons and construct new ones where necessary.
(2.) Nigerian Prisons should be classified and categorized into, Federal and States Prisons. The Federal Prisons should accommodate Federal Law offenders while State Prisons should accommodate State and Local Governments Law offenders.
(3.) Nigerian Prisons should emphasize training and skills acquisition for the prisoners as a priority.
(4.) Provide other facilities such as adequate water supply, accommodation, efficient health delivery system and recreational facilities in Nigerian Prisons.
(5.) Improvement of the condition of service for the Prison Staff will enhance job performance, and credibility of the entire institution.
G. OTHER ISSUES
(i.) Monatisation Policy:
The Council has been meditating on the possible consequences and repercussions of the monatisation policy. The Council is unreservedly calling the Federal Government’s attention to review the policy and or take urgent measures that will prevent sectional inbalance in the acquisition of the 30,000 houses and other Governments’ assests. Moreover, State Governments should have equal share in the monatisation process to ensure equity, justice and fair-play among Nigerians.
(ii.) 1976 Local Government reform
The general agitation and outcry for the Local Government Councils’ inefficiency and accusation of corrupt practices emanated from the 1976 Local Government Reform, which gives them excess autonomy, and alienates Traditional Rulers from active participation in running the affairs of the Councils. This should be revisited.
Furthermore, Kano Emirate Council, is hereby recommending for a positive review of the 1976 Local Government Council Reform with a view to making the Local Government Councils more effective, and efficient as well as integrating the Traditional Rulers into the system with a view to making the system more active and functional.
iii. 2005 Population Census
The Council is calling upon the Federal Government and the National Population Commission to ensure a peaceful conduct of the 2005 Population Census. The Government must make sure that the headcount is fair and just.
(iv.) Nigerian Agriculture
It is nationally accepted that seventy five percent (75%) of the Nigerian Population are farmers, therefore, Nigerian Agricultural sector needs to be re invogerated by the Government. This will surely help Nigeria to attain the much needed peace, security, development, and economic independence.
(v.) Nigerian Economy
The Nigerian economy is in a static situation, and in a complete distress as a result of inadequate consumable energy (mainly electricity), portable water supply, and good road networks.
At the moment, this Country has about 2,000 megawatts available electricity for consumption.
The Council has observed that this supply is grossly inadequate, and government should intensify its efforts to revitalize the sector for rapid and sustainable socio-economic development.
The Council strongly recommends that the government should improve these three basic infrastructural facilities as they are extremely essential in the production processes, industrial growth and commercial activities in the Country.
vi. National Youth Service Corps (NYSC)
Kano Emirate Council recommends for a review of the NYSC Scheme, to make the services of female candidates optional because of religious implications, health, and other social problems which female corpers mostly encounter during their service year.
The Council is hereby praying that the National Conference should ensure that the survival of the Nigerian Unity, Peace and Stability should be the most paramount objective in its deliberations and subsequent recommendations.
Similarly, we pray that the conference should consider these recommendations in an open minded passion.
Finally we pray to Almighty Allah (SWT) to guide, and support Nigerians to live in peace and harmony under the umbrella of a one united Country. Amin.
Kano Emirate Council.