The National Conference has proposed severe penalties for elected public office holders who move from one political party to another before the expiration of their mandates.
The proposal was among the numerous recommendations made by the Committee on Politics and Governance which was considered and adopted last Friday before plenary was adjourned till Monday.
The committee noted in its submission that earlier in the year, the Nigerian political sphere was over heated by the activities of some states governors and lawmakers who were moving from one political party to the other as part of political re-alignment ahead of the 2015 general elections.
In view of this development, the conference agreed that such elected public office holders who abandon their political parties midway for new ones ‘without cogent reasons’ are to lose their seats.
The conference also resolved that inducement of voters with money and materials on Election Day should henceforth be treated as a criminal offence and perpetrators punished appropriately.
It further noted that, ‘The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and the State Independent Electoral Commission, SIEC are to fashion ways to ensure that physically challenged persons, especially lepers, are registered and actually vote in elections.’
The Conference also accepted the proposal that government should no longer fund any political party. It agreed that such parties should be funded through membership subscription, levies, donations, investments, sales of party cards and other fund raising activities.
Also, a proposal that unelected chairmen of local governments often referred to as Transition Committee Chairmen, TCC, or such unelected representatives at the local government areas should be sanctioned by withholding the statutory allocations pending the conduct of election into such local governments also sailed through.
Another key recommendation by the conference was the adoption of a federal structure in Nigeria with the component states operating as the federating units. With this recommendation, it was agreed that ‘the creation of local government areas should be done by the states as they deem necessary.’
On right to self-determination, the Conference agreed that minority groups that wish to exist as separate states and meet the criteria for state creation should be allowed to do so under the instrumentality of relevant laws and procedures as part of their right to internal self-determination.
However, the final decision on establishment of structure, composition, finance and functions of local government councils were put on hold pending discussions on the Report of the Committee on Political Restructuring which holds later this week.