Remi Sonaiya KOWA presidential candidate, others want defectors to vacate seats

The politicians were reacting to the recent defection of some political office holders.

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KOWA Presidential candidate, Professor Oluremi Sonaiya play

KOWA Presidential candidate, Professor Oluremi Sonaiya

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Some politicians on Tuesday called for vacation of seats by political office holders who defected to another party.

The politicians told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the Electoral Act recognised political parties and not candidates during elections.

They were reacting to the recent defection of some political office holders.

Prof. Oluremi Sonaiya, the 2015 Presidential Candidate of the KOWA Party, said:  “Any politician who defects to another party should vacate his or her seat.

“Since people are voted into political position on the party’s platform, not necessarily on their individual merit, the decent thing to do is to vacate the position once they defect – even if there is no law requiring it.

“When the primary interest of politicians is to gain personal benefits, then, defections will be common.

“Most of them want to be with the party in power, so they can have their shares of the cake,’’ Sonaiya said.

Chief Martin Onovo, the 2015 Presidential Candidate of the National Conscience Party, also said that those who defected to another party should lose their seats.

“We must all accept the rule of law for peace and progress.

“Political office holders are elected on a platform to implement the agenda of that party. Unless for the exceptions allowed by law, those that defected must lose their seats,” Onovo said.

Mr Denis Aghanya, a politician and the Executive Secretary, Global Action Against Corruption and Bad Leadership Initiative, also urged that political office holders should vacate their seats for defection.

“In Nigeria democracy, political parties are not ideology-based.

“That is why somebody will win an election on the platform of one party based on its manifesto, and suddenly come up with excuse of internal problems; hence, he or she defects to another party.

“The National Assembly should amend the Electoral Act immediately to make it very clear that if you want to decamp, irrespective of your beautiful reasons, you must vacate your seat, because it is the exclusive right of your party,”Aghanya said.

However, Alhaji Musa Umar, a chieftain of the APC in Kano State, said that the Electoral Law did not require a defecting fellow to vacate his seat.

“The Electoral Law stipulates that a defecting party member should not vacate his seat as long as the party he is leaving has factions.

“We need to tighten the defection laws to make it difficult for political harlots to operate.

“The spate of defections by politicians simply typifies the psyche of the typical Nigerian politician who stands for nothing and fight for everything.

“There are those who defect to escape from the long arm of the law, while others simply cannot stand being in the opposition.

“To actualise their political ambition, politicians would rather be with the winning party,” Umar said.

Mr Festus Keyamo, a human rights activist and lawyer, told NAN: “If you defect from one party to the other, you lose your seat. However, the constitution provided an escape route.

“The constitution says that if you defect because there is a division in the party that sponsored you to the legislature, you will not lose your seat,” Keyamo said.

The activist said defection was caused by political miscalculations by the actors.

“They are calculating as to where their political fortunes will be secure.” 

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