ELECTED OFFICERS WHO DEFECT TO LOSE SEATS – COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS
— April 25, 2014.
The National Conference Committee on Political Parties and Electoral Matters yesterday recommended that all elected and appointed office holders in the country who defect from their political parties to another be made to automatically lose their offices or seats.
Addressing newsmen on the progress of the committee’s assignment at the NICON Luxury Hotel venue of the sitting, Barr. Remi Olatura, a member of the committee, also revealed that the committee equally recommended independent candidacy and unbundling of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, so that a different body can be solely responsible for registration and regulation of political parties in the country.
Additionally, the committee which is co-chaired by two former Senate Presidents, Ken Nnamani and Iyiocha Ayu, recommended that the Federal Government be constitutionally stripped of its role in giving subventions to political parties.
“We have recommended that if you cross carpet, you lose your seat. So when you are appointed or elected on the platform of a political party and then you cross over to another party, you lose your seat.
“According to our recommendation, it is no longer going to be excuse that there is a faction because we believe that some people and individuals will deliberately create some phantom factions in their political parties to ensure that they create some false pretense or excuse of decamping to another political party where they think that they scavenge around for greener pasture.
Speaking on independent candidacy, Olatobura said: “We are all of the view that one other means through which we can strengthen internal democracy’s in political parties is to make provision available for independent candidates.
“Individuals who want to contest election and who are popular, and who are schemed out of the political processes in their political parties should be able to go out as independent candidates and contest elections.
He added that the committee also recommended that the Federal Government be made to stop giving subventions to political parties.
“We have now recommended that political parties should now be sponsored by their members. We have recommended that the Federal Government should no longer send subventions to political parties. Let us go back to the olden days, let us go back to the practice in Europe and America where members of political party will statutorily prescribed dues, whether annually, bi-annually or monthly with which the party will be run.
He also disclosed that the committee recommended the retention of a multi-party system in the country.
He said: “We are also of the view that the party system should remain multi-party system. We jumbled with the idea of two one party system, two party system, three party system but we came to the conclusion that we should create access to democratic practice in Nigeria, greater access.
“We are also emphasizing that there must be code of conduct for politicians, code of conduct for political office holders and code of conduct for the running of political parties; so that people must know that there are conditions that they must conform to as administrators of political parties, because we are seeing political parties as breeding grounds for political leaders of this country and if you don’t get it right from the level of the management and administration of the political parties, you can never get it right at the level of the leadership.
“So we are saying that we are going to fashion out a code of conduct for the administration of political parties and even for the conduct of members of political parties. And if you run against the code of conduct, you are not going to qualify for any political office.
Speaking on the committee’s plan towards the reformation of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Barr. Olatubora said: “We are thinking of unbundling INEC so that there could be a commissioner that will be responsible for the registration and regulation of political parties and then, we will have a body that will be concerned only with the elections, like we unbundled the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN.” FROM SAINT:
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