Posted by News Express | 14 January 2017 | 1,688 times
Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu.
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) on Friday warned that there are grave dangers posed to the survival of multi-party democracy in the country “by the increasing enticements by the national executive of the national ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC) to members of the main national opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who are cross carpeting in their droves.”
The civil rights body called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the leadership of the National Assembly “to wade in by enforcing the constitutional provision against illegal cross carpeting by elected political office holders to safeguard multiparty democracy from imminent collapse.”
HURIWA said it was imperative for all relevant law enforcement authorities to take measures to ensure that all elected political office holders in the National and State Assemblies who have violated section 68(1) (g) of the Constitution by illegally changing political parties to be expelled from the legislative houses to ensure the purity of the Nigerian Law.
Section 68 (1) (g) states as follows: “A member of the Senate or of the House of Representatives shall vacate his/her seat in the House of which he/she is a member if being a person whose election to the House was sponsored by a political party, he/she becomes a member of another party before the expiration of the period for which that house was elected: provided that his/her membership of the latter political party is not as a result of a division in the political party of which he was previously a member or of a merger of two or more political parties or factions by one of which he was previously sponsored.”
In a statement by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, and the National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA said there are no verifiable and justifiable reasons for the rampant cross carpeting of elected legislators from the opposition PDP to the ruling APC since a subsisting Court of Appeal ruling recognise erstwhile Kaduna State governor Senator Makarfi as the authentic national chairman of PDP.
HURIWA alleged that some elements in the national hierarchy of APC are manipulating some law enforcement agencies such as the Nigeria Police, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Department of State Services and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to deliberately depopulate the membership of the National opposition People’s Democratic Party to blackmail its legislators to move to APC.
HURIWA cited “the recent illegal decamping of PDP Senator Andy Uba from Anambra and Joshua Dariye from Plateau State, and anther Senator of the PDP from Ondo State into APC” as clear breaches of the Constitution and grave threats to multiparty democracy.
The group condemned the silence and failure of INEC to retrieve the decampees’ certificates of return which they originally gained through the sponsorship of PDP.
HURIWA also condemned as undemocratic and ominous the pressure being mounted on the PDP Senator from Enugu State Mr. Ike Ekweremadu, by the leaders of APC to either move over to APC or be dethroned from his position as the Deputy Senate President.
The rights group said it has become notorious knowledge amongst the political class that the best way to escape the persecution of EFCC is to move over from PDP to APC.
“We are worried that the Director General of Department of State Services (DSS) who is from the same locality and once shared political affinity with Mr. President has on several occasions directed the invasion of homes of top members of PDP including the home of the Akwa Ibom state governor. The Inspector General of police whose shocking elevation from a mere junior AIG of Police to the position of IGP displaced many senior officers has deliberately converted the Nigerian Police to the armed wing of the ruling APC just as the unconstitutional roles of the police in the recently held rerun legislative elections in Rivers State are unambiguous evidences of the partisanship of the Inspector General of Police in favor of APC,” HURIWA said.
It asked the National Assembly “to do the needful to save Nigeria from totally sliding into a One Party dictatorship since allowing that to happen could spell doom for the extant democratic Republic of Nigeria.”