Senator Iroegbu and Godsgift Onyedinefu
The Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has described the move by the House of Representatives to investigate the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over its failure to deregister political parties as undemocratic and runs foul to any known constitutional democracy.
The council Chairman, Peter Ameh while also describing the move as petty and a waste of time adviced that it should be stopped because the matter is before the court of competent jurisdiction. He directed that a robust response be issued to educate the members who made the statement.
The IPAC chairman in a statement signed by Comrade Ademola Babatunde, IPAC
National Publicity Secretary argued that it is an elementary principle of Nigerian legislative process that once matters are before a competent court, no authority or persons legislate upon them, unless until it is determined on its merit.
Ameh said any attempt to discuss such matters robs the court of its guaranteed power as encapsulated under section 6 of the constitution.
“The Supreme Court has reiterated in numerous cases, that where authorities or group of persons undermined the level speed with which the court of law travels, it amounts to self-help and aberration of advanced Democracy and the spirit of Law”, he said.
He added, “This is absolutely petty and waste of time, misplacement of priority. It is a reflection that our National Assembly has forgotten the real essence of their existence in the green chamber.
He urged the House of Representatives to wait for the just determination of the suit initiated by political parties without any further discussion on the issue but should rather look at the constraints and lacuna in Nigeria’s electoral Act, and effect a credible process that will create avenue for peaceful, free, fair and credible elections.
The statement read in part
“It is expected of each unit of the National Assembly to see Nigeria has a state that needs drastic attention in all aspects, for a serious result driven legislative arm of government, political parties de-registration is never a solution to the enormous challenges facing our electoral processes today.
“The electoral Act by now should be the major point of discuss in order to plan effectively for the years ahead, putting up an action on the move to de-register political parties shows very clearly that this current member needs adequate re-orientation as to what is expected of the National assembly by Nigerians.
“The National Assembly should as a matter of loyalty to our laws and the Nigerians whom it represents be passionately concerned about the very obvious systemic errors in our institutions, challenges combating our security system and structures that makes life unbearable for the average Nigerian.
“Its focus should be to modify or make laws with a view to lifting Nigeria and Nigerians up to where the country and her people should be in the comity of nations. Countries of the world are currently thinking about how to make excellent use of the reserves and powers of their legislatures to improve productions, security of lives and properties and improve standard democratic governance.
“It will be better to intelligently look at the constraints and lacuna in our electoral Act, and effect a credible process that will create avenue for peaceful, free, fair and credible elections that will reflect the true will of Nigerians.
“This is absolutely petty and waste of time, misplacement of priority. It is a reflection that our National Assembly has forgotten the real essence of their existence in the green chamber. It is very unfortunate that of all the issues affecting the credibility of our electoral processes that has drawn concerns all over the world, the 2019 elections has a lot of flaws which ought to be the major challenge to the green chamber, the violence and killings of innocent Nigerians during election, snatching of ballot papers, ballot boxes, abuse of INEC staffs, vote buying and voting selling to mention a few. The Numbers of political parties is not the problem but the above mentioned issues.
“In a bid to show efficiency, the lawmaker should do enough due diligence on its analysis on the costs of electoral materials and the reality of operating expenses in an electioneering. Moving a motion to investigate de-registration of parties shows no credibility in the ability of the current house to effect the desired yearnings of Nigerians as regards our electoral process.
“It is expedient, for the House committee on the electoral matters to be more concerned about the attainment of local government autonomy, proscription of State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC), to ensure that only INEC conducts local government elections
“The current body language of the House, leaves us with no other option than to think that the National assembly may not address the core issues bewildering Nigeria ahead of 2023 general elections.
“In respect to the rule of law and separation of powers, the House of Representatives should wait for the just determination of the suit initiated by political parties without any further discussion on the issue.”