IPAC advocates constitutional amendment against defection
The National Chairman of Inter Party Advisory Council, (IPAC) Chief Ameh Peter, has advocated amendment to the constitution to bar elected politicians from doing whatever they liked with their party’s mandates. He said elected leaders have become lords over their parties because of the defective law that enables them to defect without repercussion.
Peter spoke against the backdrop of the recent crisis rocking the House of Representatives in its early days under the Speakership of Hon. Femi Gbajiabiamila. He warned that the speaker through his actions or inactions would define the 9th National Assembly, as a house of crisis, saying the fracas his poor handling of issues would generate would be difficult to curtail.
On the crack the situation has caused in PDP, Peter advocated for disciplinary measures to whip erring party members in line with the party’s guidelines.
“This is one of the reasons why elected party members are not always loyal to their political parties,” he stated. “It is because of this provision that they can decamp or cross-carpet because there is no disciplinary measure in place against them when they err. That constitutional provision should be amended so that no member elected on the platform of any party can leave the party and continue to enjoy the mandate.
“Once you dump or become disloyal to the political party on whose platform you climbed to the position, you should lose the position. When that is done, internal party democracy would flourish. Almost all the political parties have suffered from such use-and-dump syndrome by politicians.
“The fact is that parties no longer have control over elected members, as they used to be in the First and Second Republics, because members believe that anytime they like they can dump the party on whose back they rode to power and move on with the same mandate to another party.”
He said if the constitution could be amended to strengthen party supremacy whereby an elected member of any party, when he decides to dump the party, should be stripped of the office, as the mandate belongs to the party.
He added that INEC should be made to conduct a by-election to fill the vacant position.
According to him, “Once that is in place, you will see that normalcy will return and politicians would be scared to think of dumping the party that brought them to power. These are the issues, not that parties cannot sanction their members because when you do they can run with the mandate to another party. So, no party is safe.
“The Senate has handled their matter very maturely. President of Senate must be commended for the maturity, for his accommodating spirit, and for seeing the Senate as the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Peter stated that as an advisory council member, he would advise Gbajabiamila to also see that as leader of the Green Chamber, he has become the representative of everyone, saying members must adhere to all the rules to bring peace. He noted that Nigerians don’t want a national assembly that would be involved in unnecessary rancour and bickering.
“If the PDP has 120 members and other minority parties like Labour Party in the House of Representatives has one member and ADP, ADC, AA and APGA have one member each, if all these parties come together and determine who their Minority Leader should be, then the Speaker should go with that.
He advised Gbajabiamila to change the drumbeats and take the steps as Ahmed Lawanda has done.
“We need a stable National Assembly that will work with the executive and ensure that bills are passed as at when due and budget passed promptly,” Peter said.
He said Gbajiabiamila’s line of action has watered the ground for future crisis in the house, adding, “As a leader, you should accommodate those who criticise you because it will help you perform better, but if he is looking for the ‘yes men’, he will not get the true pulse of what is happening. There is no way a speaker can run the house alone. Every opposition party would try to put the speaker on his toes and there is nothing he can do about that.”
Peter said putting the Speaker on his toes would bring out the best in the opposition, in speaker and to the benefit of Nigeria in general.
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