Executive Has Been Going Beyond Its Powers Since 1999 – Jega

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Malam Mahmud Jega, the deputy editor-in-chief, Daily Trust newspapers, on Tuesday in Abuja, said the Presidency had been exceeding its role and powers prescribed for it by the constitution since 1999.

Jega said this in his keynote address at an event tagged ‘20 years celebration of democracy in Nigeria’, organised by Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD).

Jega said that the Federal Government, through the ant-graft agencies appropriated to itself the role of bullying state and local governments.

“Since 1999, the presidency has exceeded the role and powers prescribed for it by the constitution.

“Through the agency of EFCC and ICPC, the government arrogated to itself the role of bullying state and local governments.

‘‘At one time, it used EFCC to force some state Assemblies to impeach their governors even when they fell short of a quorum. It is forever grappling for more power.

“One of the biggest power snatches is the arrogation by the president of an unknown role called party leader; in that capacity, a president determines the candidates to field at all levels.

“The president even determines who is a party member through “re-registration” in which he hands over membership cards to select individuals.

“He invites people from other parties to come into his party and become candidates even after primaries have been concluded.’’

Jega said that at some point, the presidency arrogated to itself the power to dictate to INEC who should be declared the winner of any election and how many vote to allocate to that person.

He added that the presidency assumed the role of appointing principal officers of the National Assembly, and any leader who tried to assert its institutional independence was removed through what was famously called “banana peel’’.

Jega said that state governors were the next most powerful and the next most visible actors, adding that the power that they exercise was beyond what the constitution envisaged.

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