National Conference: Ezeife Canvasses Shift Of 2015 Election, Regional And Parliamentary System

By Obinna Akukwe

A delegate to the National Conference and third republic governor of Anambra State, Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife has canvassed for return to regional and parliamentary system of government and a possible tenure extension and shift of election date beyond 2015 to enable the conference take its full course. This was disclosed by Dr Ezeife to Concerned Igbo Clerics who sought his intervention on the crisis brewing among Igbo delegates over the leadership of Senator Ike Nwachukwu as head of Igbo delegation.

Dr Ezeife told the Concerned Clerics led by Rev Obinna Akukwe that he is rallying round Igbo leaders and Ohanaeze leadership to ensure that the issue of Ike Nwachukwu does not derail their focus to ensure proper representations of the Igbos and reiterated that he is ready to lay down his life for Ndigbo, if their existence is threatened. He also expressed optimism in the permanence of One Nigeria.

The former governor made available a copy of his welcome address to fellow conference delegates, to the clerics where he vigorously canvassed for possible tenure extension to enable the National Conference take its full course. In his written address to the confab delegates, Dr Ezeife also canvassed for return to regional and parliamentary system of government.

Speaking on possible tenure extension and shift of election date, Dr Ezeife said that 'It is important to ask this question. What happens if the time requirements of the National Conference clashes with the 2015 elections time table. That is, if the conference requires more time than envisaged and threatens the 2015 elections. Do we suspend the conference and go for elections or do we continue with the conference and push up the election. In Igbo we say that one must first secure the space (land) before the mat. It makes sense to suspend anything about the election if it clashes with securing the permanence of one Nigeria'.

Making a strong case for the return to regionalism, Dr Ezeife posited that' some people resent a return to regional government. Those opposed to it liken a return to regionalism to the Jews returning to Egypt, to bondage. This problem must be solved to the satisfaction of all. The state in each zone must, on principle of unanimity in decision making, agree on the form of regional / zonal government or authority or commission'. According to him 'The models for zonal arrangements are these (a) regional government as they are well known in the past. (b) regional or zonal government in which the governors from the zones rotate leadership or headship (c) a common Service Commission in which the Governors of the states takes turn to chair the commission'. He added that 'if in spite of all efforts, some states still do not agree to the regional or zonal arrangement, a system of Federal Administered States can be developed and adopted'.

Dr Ezeife, stating his preference for the parliamentary system above the present presidential arrangement said that' Some people or groups prefer the presidential system to the parliamentary system merely because of the requirement that for one to win as President he/she must win 25% of the votes cast in 2/3 states of the states in the country. The proponents of this view believe that the requirement makes the group more important in the system because of many states they have. Now in a new parliamentary system, it should be required that for a party or coalition of parties to form government of the federation, that party, or coalition of parties. Must win 25% of votes cast in two thirds of the states'.

The former governor asked Rev Akukwe and other clerics to continue their consultations and pray for Igbo delegates to the conference so that they continue to speak in one voice as they did since 2011. The clerics are still continuing with their consultations and interventions to ensure that Igbo delegates close ranks and use the occasion of the conference to stall the gradual descent of Igbo to a new minority in Nigeria.