Reps Seek to Make President, Govs Vacate Seats After Defection

51 Viewed Obiajulu Joel Nwolu 0 respond
Reps Seek to Make President, Govs Vacate Seats After Defection
Obiajulu Joel Nwolu

The House of Representatives is seeking to pass a bill that will force a president or governor to vacate their position if they defect from the political party on whose platform they won an election to another.

Currently, the constitution only recommends such to National Assembly and state House of Assembly members.

The bill is which is sponsored by a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, from Taraba State, Rimamnde Kwewum, seeks to extend the same to the president, vice-president, governor and deputy governor.

Three governors have cross-carpeted since the last general elections in 2019 among whom are David Umahi of Ebonyi State, Ben Ayade of Cross River State, and recently Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State.

The bill, which is awaiting second reading by the House, seeks to amend sections 144(1) and 189(1) of the 1999 Constitution “to check incidents of defections, that is, cross-carpetings or abandoning the political party that sponsored a president, vice-president, governor or deputy governor, as the case may be, for another political party, in the absence of a merger of political parties, division or factions within the sponsoring political party.”

Kwewum, in the legislative brief on the bill, said, “Presently, only legislators in the national and state Houses of Assembly lose their seats if they defect to other political parties. The intention remains the need to improve and deepen democracy by strengthening the political parties.

“There is no doubting the fact that all through history, political parties have remained the strongest pillars of democracy. They provide choices for people by professing and working through some governing philosophies, and help to educate people on different patterns of developments being proposed by the different political parties.

“Often regarded by political parties which sponsored them as leaders, presidents and governors cannot abandon their political parties and retain the seat that they earned by the sponsoring political parties.

“There is, therefore, a need to ensure that political parties retain their hold on the states or governments that they have won. Fact is that under the present constitution, you cannot run for that office without the party.”

According to the lawmaker, people vote for parties and that is why party symbols are used on ballot parties.

“Winners of elections, by this logic, are simply agents of the political parties,” Kwewum argued.

He added that once an elected person, the president, vice-president, governor or deputy president abandons the position to which they were elected, “it means they no longer have confidence in the political party and do not share the same ideologies or principles.”

This post was written by Obiajulu Joel Nwolu.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.

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