Clear indications emerged Sunday that political parties have been abusing funds allocated by the Nigerian state for their operations. Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu alluded to this when he explained that the Federal Government had to stop giving subventions to political parties because some party leaders were abusing the funds.
A statement by Ekweremadu’s Special Adviser on Media, Uche Anichukwu, on Sunday, quoted the senator as saying this when he hosted members of the Inter- Party Advisory Council (IPAC) of Nigeria who visited him.
The deputy Senate president, who is also the chairman, Senate Committee on Constitution Review, advised political leaders to clamour for the introduction of proportional representation to enlarge political representation in the legislature rather than calling for Federal Government’s funding of the parties.
According to him, having a proportional representation would in turn, enable smaller political parties to progress.
Ekweremadu said, “Giving subvention to political parties was the case in the past but we had to amend the constitution to remove that; the reason being that it was thoroughly abused by some people.
“They will register a political party and wait for election; government gives them subvention, then they will put it in their pockets and make no efforts to win. To them, political parties are platforms for making cool money from the government.
“When this is done, instead of first – past – the- post system where a party that polls the highest number of votes even by a single vote takes the parliamentary seat, while the other parties go home empty- handed no matter how well they performed, parties will now be allocated parliamentary seats based on the percentage of the total votes they garnered in an election.
“That way, smaller parties will be accommodated in the parliament. They will know that they will not go empty- handed if they work hard.”
He also revealed during the meeting that serious consultations were ongoing to get the opinions of critical stakeholders about the ongoing constitution review.
“For instance, we have gone to the judiciary; we have gone to the Independent National Electoral Commission and other stakeholders, asking them to express their views .We got a lot of responses. So, we are going ahead, and your visit today will help to shape the final document, which we will present to the Senate.”
In his response, IPAC national chairman, Mr Mohammed Nalado, said that the body was, with the support of the International Republican Institute, United States Aid Agency, Political Party Policy and Leadership Development Centre, among others, trying to facilitate electoral reforms that would guarantee free , fair and credible electoral processes .
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