We made our democracy expensive, says Obanikoro

12th June 2024


Musiliu Obanikoro

A  former Minister of State for Defence, Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro, has called for a review of the budgets of the Senate and House of Representatives as a strategy to reduce the cost of governance.

Obanikoro made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos in commemoration of Nigeria’s Democracy Day.

NAN reports that Nigeria’s Democracy Day is now celebrated on June 12 to remember the sacrifices of the winner of the 1993 Presidential Election, Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale (MKO) Abiola.Musiliu Obanikoro

It used to be celebrated on May 29 annually but was moved to June 12 by the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari.

Nigeria operates a bicameral legislature made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

“Democracy doesn’t have to be this expensive; that is one thing we don’t get right.

“It is expensive because we have made it so. Let me give you a good example because we borrowed this system from America.

“In America, they don’t provide accommodation for lawmakers, they fend for themselves when it comes to that, they live basically on salary and very small fringe benefits,” Obanikoro said.

He said that Nigeria could also work toward that and make the budget of the National Assembly more transparent.

“When the budget is more transparent, and people can go online and see what is allocated to every member of the National Assembly and can also input into the process, I do believe that will make the process or the institution less expensive,” he said.

Obanikoro added that if the budget of the two legislative houses had been made transparent, the recent calls for a parliamentary system of government would have been avoided.

“This clamour that the bicameral system of the legislature should be jettisoned will reduce if the budget is reduced because the idea is that there are some budgetary provisions that should never be in our books, and we must be bold enough to expunge them.

“We cut the budget size of the National Assembly to a reasonable level that an average Nigerian can live with,” Obanikoro,  a former High Commissioner to Ghana, said.

On Nigeria’s 25 years of uninterrupted democracy, the one-time gubernatorial aspirant told NAN that the country had persevered.


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