From PETRUS OBI, Enugu
Sunnewsonline Thursday, November 18, 2010
Second Republic vice president, Dr. Alex Ekwueme has described the move by members of the National Assembly to amend the Electoral Act to make them automatic members of the National Executive Committees (NEC) of their various political parties as selfish. Ekwueme spoke yesterday in Enugu while fielding questions from newsmen shortly after he declared open the second Coal City Book Convention organized by Delta Book Club.
He said the move also totally negates the spirit and letters of true democracy, pointing out that if the bill was allowed to scale through, it would also put pressure on the nomination process of the various political parties for the 2011 general elections. He therefore urged the parties involved, especially the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Progressives Peoples Alliance (PPA) to immediately checkmate the move by using the parties’ internal mechanisms.
Said he: “I think, it’s perhaps a mixture of ideas from the parliamentary system and the presidential system. In the parliamentary system, the legislature decides the running of the parties, but it’s not so in a presidential system which we are practicing today.
“The parties should be allowed to decide how candidates for elections are selected; if you allow every member of the legislature to become automatic members of the NEC of parties, what that means is that they would become the de-facto leaders of the parties considering their numbers. “What that means is that the legislators would not become judges in their own cases because they will now decide how the NEC selects candidates for elections which they are equally contesting. What now becomes the fate of the people who are equally contesting for party tickets in the same election they are contesting?” he asked.
The former vice president under President Shehu Shagari said there was nothing wrong in allowing the situation to remain as it is presently where some members of the National Assembly were still members of the NEC of the parties and therefore cautioned the people behind the bill to have a rethink. Earlier at the book launch, he said Nigerian youths should develop the habit of reading and writing books.