Former governor of Kano State and senator representing Kano Central, Ibrahim Shekarau, has decried Nigeria’s high cost of governance.
Consequently, Shekarau, who spoke in an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Wednesday night, advised President Bola Tinubu to cut down the number of federal lawmakers.
He said: “Left to me, we don’t need to have the two chambers, the two houses. It’s costing the country. I agree, a democracy means getting as many involved as possible, but the way it is going on now, it’s almost 500 legislators nationwide; I don’t think we really need this much at the moment.”
The two chambers of the National Assembly is made up of 109 senators and 360 House of Representatives members, bringing the total number of federal lawmakers to 469.
He, however, expressed doubt if President Bola Tinubu could muscle the political will to do this and other constitutional amendments that would be beneficial to the country.
Shekarau argued further that cutting the number of parastatals would affect the number of oversight assignments, reducing the burden on the nation.
“Then you’ll discover that the legislative arm will also have to be downsized because if there isn’t much to do at the centre, you don’t need all of this sea of hundreds of people really to do oversight assignments.
“I have been subscribing to the idea of devolution of powers. The Federal Government should really cut its own costs by devolving a lot of these responsibilities down the line, to the states and to the local governments,’’ he said.
According to him, the Federal Government is spending “so much” at the centre and creating too many agencies and parastatals.
He said: “Unfortunately, we’ve not had leadership that has the courage. There was the Oronsaye report during Jonathan’s time, which has yet to be implemented.
“Former President Goodluck Jonathan did not implement it; former President Muhammadu Buhari did not implement it.
“The moment you create a parastatal, you’re already talking of board members, chief executive, directors, departments, and the overhead cost of running all these agencies add quite a lot to the expenses of running the government.”
He said cutting down on the number of federal lawmakers and reducing the number of parastatals and agencies would save the country money to be ploughed into areas, including education, health and other social services.