Returning President Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) High Chief Peter Ameh has accused state governors of stifling multi-party democracy in the country.
Ameh who stated this on Tuesday after being re-elected as the president of IPAC noted his council has adopted the position of president at the national level instead of chairman to differentiate it from state chapters.
He said some of the politicians did not believe in the supremacy of the political parties that brought them to power, hence they easily defect to other parties.
Ameh who described himself as a staunch believer in multi-party democracy warned that de-registration and re-registration would not guarantee strong parties.
He therefore advocated for the establishment of a credible electoral process that would guarantee free and fair election, urging that the amendment of the Electoral Act to introduce stringent laws that would guard against indiscriminate defections from one party to the other as well as ensure party supremacy.
He also called for local government autonomy to be detach it from the whims and caprices of the governors so that new political parties can begin to win elections into the wards as well as the local governments.
He stated that if such laws were enacted to ensure party supremacy and put the parties in firm control of the chairmen, any defecting politician would be forced to lose his position to discourage indiscriminate defections.
“I am an unapologetic advocate for multi-party democracy. I have said it a million times.i won’t be here if not that Gani Fawehinmi fought that we should be part of the process to enthrone multi-party democracy.
“I don’t believe that de-registration and re-registration should be the solution. If we had established, like South Africa, Tanzania, a free and fair credible electoral system, we will not be here talking about many parties we have. We have 774 local governments, we had thousands of wards to be won for young people.
“But as I talk to you the emperor’s who are governors in the states do not allow any other political parties to win anything and it had become very difficult to build a new political party no matter how powerful and how brainy the chairman is.
“If you look at the current system, the defective law that makes somebody who is elected to defect to another party, does not give party chairmen the power to control those who are elected on their platform.
“So if this two laws are out in place- that local government chairmen are no longer under the whims and caprices of governors and that we enact that if you defect, automatically you lose the sit and the party chairman and his EXCO should appoint another person to represent them at the national/state Assembly, then you find out that those elected on a particular platform will be willing to sink with the party if the party is sinking.
“But as it is now they can even create an artificial faction so that the chairman will be building party for many years without the party growing. I can mentions parties to you. PPA is one of the victims, AD had six governors and they even had AD caucus in the National Assembly, but today where is the AD? We had DPP led by Bafarawa then, it was a big party growing in Delta and Sokoto. We had Labour Party. Where are they today? So as soon as you have that system that allows elected party officials to defect, you have difficulty in building multi-party democracy.
“What we have is the attitude of the Nigerian politician who sees himself as superior to the platform through which they are elected. If we can solve this problem, I assure you that multi-party system will flourish in Nigeria and Nigerians will stop complaining how many parties we have”, Ameh said.
The re-elected IPAC chairman urged the National Assembly not to pass the amendment Electoral Act without involving all stakeholders, especially, the national chairmen of political parties with a view to ensuring that the interest of both minority and majority were protected.
According to the IPAC leader, the former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof Attahiru Jega merely cut his nose to spite his face when he joined the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), a party he de-registered whilst in office.
He said Jega who had stated in an interview that he was a follower of Aminu Kano politics, urging him to realise that he would not have had the opportunity to join PRP if the members did not go to court to defend their right and to insist that the party must be recognised after judgement was delivered in the favour in 2015.
He also described Jega as a hater of multiple party democracy for his penchant in de-registration of many parties during his tenure.