The National Chairman, Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, Thursday warned elective office holders that they risked losing seats should they defect from the political party on whose platform they got into power.
At the All Nigeria Political Parties and Political Stakeholders’ Summit in Abuja, he said that INEC was proposing a bill to the National Assembly so that any elected political officeholder who joins any other political party other than the one on whose platform he was first elected into office, will lose his seat.
Speaking against the backdrop of the ongoing controversy over last year’s defection of five governors and 37 members of the House of Representatives elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC). When an elected official “defects, he is supposed to relinquish his office to allow for a fresh election.”
But Jega condemned politicians who defected and insisted on retaining their seats in violation of the constitution. He said: “While we must respect the right of citizens to choose at will what parties to belong to, as part of their freedom of association, the negative effects of haemorrhage of party members and the rancour it generates cannot be underestimated because on one hand the legal framework is not too clear.
If you are elected on the platform of a political party and you cross-carpet and change your political party, then obviously you have to relinquish the seat and election needs to be conducted to fill that seat. This is an important issue we should address.” He warned politicians against engaging in acts that promote electoral violence, saying the win-at-allcosts tendency promotes religious cleavages, tribal differences and violence.
Additional Content Credit: TheNewTelegraph