SINCE the result of the United Kingdom referendum became known, I have been following what is happening politically in that country. Immediately after it was revealed that the British people had voted to leave the European Union, the Prime Minister, Mr David Cameron, resigned his appointment. Here was a man who had won a general election by a landslide just over a year ago, while also convincing the Scottish people to remain part of the UK in an earlier referendum. Unfortunately, the Brexit referendum result didn’t go his way, and he felt the country needed a leader who would lead the Brexit talks with European Union leaders.
After Cameron’s resignation came the struggle to become prime minister by members of the Conservative Party; members of the opposition labour party also began to revolt against their leader because they felt he did not do much to persuade the people to vote to remain the in EU. In fact, communities that voted to leave the union are strong Labour party communities.
Having said this, power resides in the parliament in this system of government, unlike in the Presidential system where a man, who is the president, has all the powers.
In Parliamentary system, the Prime Minister cannot do anything without the support of the parliament, and despite possessing executive powers, the Prime Minister is also a member of parliament, who also represents a constituency, unlike what we have in a Presidential system.
The power that resides in the President is also the reason every region is always struggling to produce the president. Today, the South East is angry that it has not produced a president in the country, and this is what is fuelling the secession bid by organisations like the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
In any political dispensation, the Prime Minister can be toppled several times; once party members become disenchanted with a Prime Minister, they just pass a vote of no confidence, and he will either step down, or be voted out.
If we really want to carry every region along in our democracy, then it is high time we switched to Parliamentary system, as this will give everybody a sense of belonging. Presidential system of government will not work in a multi-ethnic society as ours, because every region will want to produce the number one citizen.
I hope our political leaders, particularly members of the National Assembly, can set in motion for this change.
- Nelson Ekwale,
Benin, Edo State.