By Olusegun Emmanuel, Abuja.
The National Conference Committee on Political Parties and Electoral Matters on Thursday recommended that senators, lawmakers and state governors who defect from their political parties to another parties would automatically lose their offices or seats.
The committee equally recommended independent candidacy and unbundling of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, so that another agency can be in charge of registration and regulation of political parties in the country.
The committee which is co-chaired by two former Senate Presidents, Ken Nnamani and Iyiocha Ayu, also recommended that Federal Government be constitutionally stripped of its role in giving subventions to political parties.
A member of the committee and delegate representing Ondo State, at the conference, Barr. Remi Olatubora, disclosed these today, in Abuja, while addressing newsmen on progress of the committee’s assignment.
Barr. Olatubora, who is the Ondo State Commissioner for Technical and Vocational Education, said it would no longer be business for elected and appointed office holders in the country to abandon their political parties, by joining others, just as he said his committee discovered that some politicians were feigning what he called ‘phantom factions’ in their parties to seek greener pastures in others.
“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 pretends or excuse of decamping to another political party where they think that they scavenge around for greener pasture.
“And so, if you cross carpet now, you lose your seat. And then, we have also extended it to other political offices even to the position of governors, chairmen of local government councils and councilors, because the law as it is now, is restricted to only members of the National Assembly, members of the House of Assembly but you have seen that in recent past, there are governors that crossed from their parties to other parties and we see that this is a serious indiscipline in the system.
“If you go to the parliament or if you are elected as governor and if you jump ship along the way, you will lose your seat, you will lose your office.
“We are not banning cross carpeting but you cross with the benefit and the burden. The burden being that you lose your political office or seat if you are in the parliament or your office if you are governor and the benefit is whatever is the purpose, the reason which you are jumping to another party. So in essence, you stand to automatically lose your seat if you cross carpet,” he said
“It is morally reprehensible for you to contest on the platform of party ‘A’ for a mandate that will last for four years and just somewhere along the line, you abandon that particular political party that sponsored you and you run to another political party,” he added.
He said the country’s freedom of association provision as enshrined in the existing constitution should not be misconstrued, saying no right was absolute.