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Attempt to impose candidates on NASS will not work, says Momoh



A founding member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Prince Tony Momoh, has said that any attempt by the party hierarchy to impose candidates on the National Assembly would not work in a presidential system. 

The former minister of Information and Culture, who turns 80 years next week Saturday, April 27, told journalists in Abuja, yesterday, that efforts to impose candidates on the parliament failed in the past because lawmakers would always resist such attempts and rather choose their own leaders without being teleguided. 

Momoh, who said imposition is not a norm in a presidential system of government, as is the case with Nigeria, argued that party supremacy could only work in a parliamentary system, where the political party with the majority members form the government.

“The National Assembly has its own personality that it protects, in spite of political party differences. It has always be 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.

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

The elder statesman also submitted that political restructuring was the only way to bring about good governance in the country, adding: “Nigeria is too top heavy in administering governance and we need to decongest the political space. National Assembly makes law in 93 areas, comprising the exclusive and concurrence lists.

“In federations worldwide, we don’t need more than 18. The rest should go to regions, which knows what to do with it…”

While noting that the fate of the APC, after President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023, was dependent on the calibre of party men and women that would win elections, Momoh said: “APC is populated by people who are well-meaning, as well as greedy. If the greedy wins, then there will be trouble. If the well-meaning wins, then we thank God.”

The former minister, who also expressed reservations about the minimum wage of N30, 000 signed into law by President Buhari on Thursday, said the development would further create challenges in some states.

“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 then. A lot of them are currently finding it difficult to pay N18, 000 now and 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?”

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