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Published On: Tue, Jan 30th, 2018

Tony Momoh advocates part time legislature

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By Lateef Ibrahim

Former Minister of Information, Prince Tony Momoh, canvassed for the adoption of part time legislature in Nigeria.
Momoh said this in Abuja on Monday while expressing gratitude to the Electoral Institute for organizing a public lecture in honour of his late family member, Prof. Abubakar Momoh, who was the pioneer Director General of the institute in Abuja.
The former Minister and media guru argued that whereas the lawmakers in both House of Representatives and the Senate discharge their responsibilities part time, they earn salaries for full time services.
Prince Momoh called for the adoption of a part time legislature, noting that the same work they do presently on full time basis was what the lawmakers in the First Republic did on part time basis.
According to him, “What they do in the two Houses of the National Assembly, Houses of Representatives and the Senate is what they did when they were working part time in the First Republic. They don’t work full time, but they get full time pay and so they spend more of their time to empower themselves in business that are not to the benefit of any other persons.”
In his lecture titled “Towards 2019 General Elections: Political Parties and Internal Democracy,” a senior fellow of Centre for Democracy and Development, Abuja, Prof. Jibrin Ibrahim, expressed concern over the state of the nation’s political parties as the general elections are 382 days away.
He condemned the practice of asking aspirants to step down for the ones anointed by the parties’ godfathers and barons in primary elections. Ibrahim also decried zoning as another technique that parties use to weed out unwanted aspirants from contesting in elections.
He observed that the issue of left and right divide had largely vanished from Nigerian political parties; so, conflicts are focused on the issue of personalities, ethnic groups, and geopolitical zones and the control of power.
According to him, “Political parties today need to start transforming themselves into competent democratic organs. The first step is for the parties to improve their organizational skills.”
He admonished the parties to learn how to practice internal democracy by accepting that it is their interest to follow their internal rules and regulations and respect the principles of elective inclusivity.
In his own contribution, the Acting Director General of the Electoral Institute, Dr. Sa’ad Idris, said over the time, lack of internal democracy fueled by such negative factors like ‘godfatherism’ and influence of money politics have been a huge problem within political parties.
He urged that as a build up to the 2019 general elections and in order to prevent reoccurrence of vices, the lecture would take into cognizance the challenges and root causes that hinder effective internal democracy among political parties and seek mechanism to mitigate them.
Paying tribute to the late and pioneer Director-General of the institute, Prof. Abubakar Momoh, he recalled that his death coincide with the Nigeria’s Democracy Day.
Describing him as true patriot, scholar and democrat, he pointed out that some of the laudable achievements of the deceased were among other things the “commissioning of TEI Curriculum Design and Facilitators notes, implementation of Electoral Training Study Cycle for the benefit of the commission’s staff across the country.”
The national chairman of the newly registered Mass Action Joint Alliance Party of Nigeria, Chika Ibeneme bemoaned the situation whereby the leadership of political parties tried to impose candidates on its members ignoring the electoral process.
“We have various differences, you can just compare our party with other parties, first we are a grassroots party because we have presence at the ward unit level in every part of the country”.
On how best solve the myriad of problems afflicting the country she said that the solution is not in formation new parties and coalition but that there must be determination to fight poverty and to increase food production for the teaming population.
“We must develop the ability to provide food for the people. Poverty is in the land, both the ruling party and the other party that ruled the country before did not address this issue. Most Nigerians have become poor both in mind and physical disposition.
On the plan of her party for the 2019 general election, MPN chieftain said that youths between the ages of 18 and 35 years will be give a waiver to obtain nomination forms free.

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