The departing leader of the Enugu state House of Assembly and member representing Udenu state constituency, Dr. Ikechukwu Ezeugwu has proposed a trim down of the National Assembly from a bicameral to a unicameral legislature.
He also suggested Nigeria could go back to a parliamentary system of government, noting that the nation’s economy can no longer carry the huge burden of maintaining a bogus two sets of lawmaking with humongous pay packs associated with them.
Ezeugwu went further to suggest the legislature could be run on a part-time basis, stressing that the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RAMFC, should as a matter of urgency trim the remunerations of members of the National assembly which he said is outrageous when compared to what is obtained in other climes.
In a valedictory interview, Ezeugwu said: “The last time I traveled to Denver Colorado in the US, a House of Representatives member invited me for their inauguration. After the whole thing, he came to my hotel and took me out for dinner. Do you know that this man was driving himself, even though the car he came with was the type we give to aides here as a utility vehicle. That’s in America.
“We should try to make the legislative arm of government at the national level less attractive pecuniary wise so that if you don’t have the zeal to serve the people, you won’t aspire to go there. Anybody whose intention is to go and amass wealth will just be discouraged. And this should be handled by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission.
“The idea that somebody goes there for four years and is given a vehicle and a plot of land; another four years, he’s again given a vehicle and another plot of land and in another four years, he’s again given a vehicle and another plot of land; that continues as long as the person returns to the National Assembly. I mean, it’s unthinkable. We must find a way and structure it that once you go once or twice, certain things would not be provided for you again; so that you take care of certain things by yourself as a ranking member.
“With this kind of arrangement, you will find out that only those who have the interest to serve the people at heart would be interested in going to the National Assembly even for many terms. So, I agree that the remuneration of the National Assembly members is huge, but it’s not that attractive at the state level. But we need to do something, like making it a part time, and above all the best model as far as I am concerned is that we go back to the parliamentary system.
“Even if we’re not going back to the parliamentary system, do we need the Senate and House of Representatives with this cash crunch? If you ask me, I will say let’s just have a unicameral legislature and the House of Reps which involves more representatives should just be okay for us. There’s no need to duplicate their functions, and that’s what’s happening there. The Committees you have in the Senate and also there in the House of Representatives, and after they will merge their positions by way of concurrence. If it was in those years of oil boom, no qualms, but right now, we don’t have the resources to carry such burden of governance.”