The Chairman, Inter Party Advisory Council, Yinusa Tanko, believes that the recognition given to the idea of cross carpeting by politicians should be expunged from the Electoral Act.
Speaking on Channels Television, he noted that the lack of laws that would stand the test of time had been the reason why the Nigerian political system had lost its values.
He wondered why any politician should be allowed to trade the trust given to him by the people with another party that they did not support.
Tanko revealed that the discussions at the recently held National Political Summit bordered on issues concerning all political parties, including that of cross carpeting. He noted that if the recommendations are well adopted, it would bring sanity to the system.
He disclosed that the major step needed after the summit was to ensure that the next Electoral Act does not allow any elected politician to cross carpet into another party.
How much influence a political party has on the success of the candidate also came to the fore, as it is believed that some persons boost the party’s chances by their popularity rather than being helped by the party to win elections.
Tanko insisted that the candidate was bound by the political party he contested on and could only ride on his personal popularity on the platform of another party. This was after sharing the view that Nigeria was not yet mature for independent candidature.
He also believed that political parties would be able to agree on putting an end to the issue of cross carpeting as the issue has not favoured any of the political parties and it had become important for all the parties to jointly work against it.
Tanko said that his party the NCP would not accept any candidate from another party; no matter how popular he is, as long as he is occupying an office under his party.
“What is wrong is wrong”, he said, noting that his party was built on strong values.
He explained that the IPAC was a common front where parties discuss internal issues and there were plans to come up with ways of calling political parties with disciplinary issues to order.
This, according to him, includes utterances made by politicians, stating that issues of education, housing and development should form the core content of their public statements. While admitting that politicking had a place in contests, he advised that such should be based on developmental issues.
He revealed that the organisation embarked on this campaign in Anambra State leading to the governorship election to sensitize the people about what to pay attention to but could not do same in Ekiti due to certain constraints.
The former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mister Ghali Na’Abba has challenged those claiming that President Goodluck Jonathan signed an agreement to restrict himself to a single term to come out with proofs to back up their claims.
Speaking on Channels Television programme, ‘’View From The Top’’, Mr Na’Abba said that although it is important for people to honour agreements they entered into, he was not privy to any document suggesting that there is any agreement.
He said: “Anybody has the right to contest to be the President of Nigeria, wherever he comes from, but when there is an agreement, that agreement must be upheld, no matter the pain. If we don’t learn to honour our agreements, then we are not men of honour.
“In this case, none of us have been briefed after the primary elections of 2011 by anybody about the process these governors followed in giving their votes or asking their delegates to elect Goodluck Jonathan to be the party’s presidential flag bearer.”
Na’Abba was among many top politicians that left the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in a highly publicized defection to the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, in 2005. He said that unlike the current wave of defections, his was not an easy decision, leaving the PDP back then.
He explained that the then President, Olusegun Obasanjo, in his bid to elongate his tenure in office, “embarked on what they called re-registration exercise in the party”, with the aim of “having total control of the party.”
He further alleged that those of them who were seen not to be in support of the president’s plan “were marked out for total elimination from the party.” So, means had to be devised for them to either leave the party or be dismissed. He said that they were denied the opportunity to be re-registered as members of the party.
Hence, they opted out of the party and fought the scheme. He noted that they did not leave the party just because they wanted to.
He, however, regretted that his expectation that whatever party he joined after PDP would be a truly democratic party with internal democracy was not what he found, so he decided to return to his party, the PDP, in 2007, just after the presidential election.
Speaking from experience as a one-time defector, Na’Abba noted that the possibility of recent PDP defectors returning to the party would depend on their objectives, as there were people in politics for the purpose of acquiring power, while there are also developmental politicians.
“Once power seeking politicians find what they need, they may not come back, because for them all the platforms are the same. There are no differences in ideology; which is why many politicians contesting for positions cannot provide their party manifestos,” he explained.
Mr Na’Abba also commended the current Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, saying despite the circumstances that he has found himself, he is doing his best.
“The current House of Representatives cannot be compared to that of 1999 to 2003. Because that time, members came almost on their own, so they didn’t need anybody to direct them, and this was why the House was quite independent.
“After 2003, when the potential for the House to do a lot of things was realised by the executive arm, it was silently decided that that degree of independence should never be allowed within the legislature. So the next occupants of the House and the Senate were mostly handpicked by the party or the President.”
He also shared his views on the National Conference and other matters of national importance.
Senior Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe on Monday morning lambasted leaders and members of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC).
Following several events, including the call for the President’s impeachment, based on allegations leveled against him in a letter written by former president Olusegun Obasanjo and the defection of 5 governors and 37 lawmakers to the APC, Mr Okupe described all attempts at discrediting the present administration as coming from ‘desperate failures’ who want the Presidency to go to the North.
“Every time they (APC) need a national figure as a leader or anytime they want to play national politics, they don’t have it among themselves. They went to look for Ribadu, Atiku, now (it’s) Tambuwal or (somebody) Obasanjo,” he said, referring to a meeting the APC leaders had with Obasanjo on Saturday.
He tagged the party as ‘unserious’ for admitting members who they (APC) had accused of corruption. “Before, Kwankwaso is a thief. Now if he joins APC, he’s a saint,” he said.
“Right now they are mute on manifesto, mute on programme. All they are doing is collecting all collectibles, irrespective of those who were formerly regarded as criminals, e.g Kwankwaso.
On the defection of five former PDP governors to the opposition party, he said it is “good riddance” for PDP and accused them of not being democrats.
“These are people who are irrevocably committed to a particular ideology. They want the Presidency to go to the north by all means. These are not democrats.”
Following the defection of 37 lawmakers, analysts have noted the possibility of the APC being the majority in the National Assembly but according to Okupe, it is a ‘dream’ the APC would never realize.
“Majority in the NASS is a dream they have. They are not likely to gain a majority in any of the Houses.”
He backed-up his assertion with confirmation that the PDP has strong ties with other parties. “PDP has working alliance and working arrangement with Labour Party, APGA, Accord Party and they are not small numbers.”
Although he claimed not to have ever condemned the APC for looking for members in the PDP, he defined a political party worth considering as one which has “within itself the human resources that is required to develop and instill sense of confidence in voters”.
“Check out APC, they have no story to tell. It is quite embarrassing, I am shocked. A new party formed with so much fanfare. They have no story to tell. What you would have expected would have been that this party that knows that it is in opposition, if it must defeat an incumbent, ought to be moving all over the place talking about manifesto, talking about what they would do differently from what is being done.”
“They (defected governors) are outgoing (as they have served two tenures already). These are governors that are not popular in their states.
He made an example of the Governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako. “Nyako is of no consequence in Adamawa. We had to beg the whole of Adamawa, Jubril Aminu, Atiku Abubakar, Bamanga Tukur (everybody that was anybody in Adamawa), to help shore up support for Nyako to win the second term.”
He added that it was not the party’s fault but Nyako’s ‘person.’ “It’s not his fault. He’s never been a politician. It was General Obasanjo (Rtd) who went and called him from his farm. He didn’t take part in any primary. He didn’t win any election. He didn’t campaign to anybody. They finished the primaries in Adamawa.”
Obasanjo just called him and said you are the governor.”
As for the defected PDP lawmakers, they have lost their seats already. It’s a matter of time, he said.
He continued by saying they are no longer legislators insisting that “if it was during Obasanjo’s time, they would have put policemen at the gate. They would not allow them to enter and it would be right.”
“The law says that you in the National Assembly cannot cross-carpet, leave your party to another party, unless there is division in your party.
We have a court judgment that says there’s no division in PDP and the court says it does not recognise the new PDP.”
People flagrantly disobey the law and shamelessly declare themselves as members of another party, he said.
Buhari And Bola Tinubu: Still Thinking In The Past
While speaking on the programme, Okupe faulted the APC’s attempts at gaining numbers by poaching on PDP territory and blamed the leaders for not being up to date on the new era of politics.
“Politics has changed since the era of digital communication and the emancipation of a lot of our young people,” he said, noting that “the leadership of the APC, (Buhari and Bola Tinubu), are still thinking in the past.”
Okupe attributed the APC gain in south-west Nigeria to internal wrangling in the PDP. “PDP messed itself up,” he said.
On the fear of Nigerians in diaspora regarding the 2015 elections, which many say would be grappled with desperation, Okupe said: “I am not going to judge what will happen in Nigeria by the perception of foreigners.”
What Nigerians need to do is to appeal to these desperate people (particularly the APC), not to employ desperate measures. He advised members of the APC to talk to Nigerians and then head to the polls for the outcome.
He pegged the impeachment plan which has been supported by the APC as an “attempt by desperate failures.”