The House of Representatives is currently working on a bill that would make it almost impossible for a president or governor to defect from the political party on whose platform they were elected.
Naija News reports that only members of the National Assembly and state House of Assembly may lose their seats for defecting.
But a bill sponsored by Rimamnde Kwewum (PDP-Taraba State) seeks to extend the condition to the president, vice-president, governor and deputy governor.
The bill which has gone through its first reading and waiting for second reading “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 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 PUNCH, the lawmaker added that Nigerians 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.”
He said it was important, therefore, 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,” he added.
This article was originally published on Nigeria News