Buhari’s re-election is shortest route to Igbo presidency in 2023

Nze Chidi Duru is the Chairman of the Anambra State chapter of President Muhammadu Buhari Re-election Movement. He was a strong voice in the House of Representatives where he served for eight unbroken years between 1999 and 2007. In this interview, he examines the recent defections by some lawmakers in the National Assembly, the attempt by Senate President Bukola Saraki and other defectors to cling on to power after defecting to other parties and submits that their action is in violation of the Constitution. He also speaks on what the re-election of Buhari portends for the Igbo Presidency in 2023. Nze Chidi Duru As a former member of the National Assembly, what do you make of the recent rumblings in the National Assembly, particularly the gale of defections and the subsequent strident attempts by the key actors to retain their posts after defecting, the blockade of the place by hooded security men and the crisis arising from the defections? I want to say that as a person, I normally would see event as positive learning curves. People draw from those lessons that events present and they help to bridge certain gaps and make us to be more mature as to how we react to events going forward.Duru1 Going by the events in the National Assembly, starting with the last, which was the blockade, I would want to believe that the action of the Acting President was timely and to the point and to pray that such a primitive act should never happen again in our country. I am saying so because the blockade desecrated the sanctity of the National Assembly, which is the bastion or symbol of our democracy. Coming down to the defections in the National Assembly, the actors are simply disobeying the law and deliberately heating up the polity. They actors know very well what the position of the law is on defection and they should simply comply with the law and stop creating unnecessary heat in the land. My position is that the law enjoins members of the National Assembly to serve out their tenure in the party on whose platform they were elected into the National Assembly. And if for any reason any member chooses not to serve out his term, then he is required by the Constitution to lose his seat and go back and seek a fresh mandate from his constituency because in Nigeria, as we have it today, members are not elected as independent candidates. Members are elected on the platform of a political party. The Constitution is very clear on that, and that is section 68 particularly (1g ) of the Constitution says that “members are elected on the basis of a political party, and if for any reason that they would like to defect from one party or the other, then they would lose their seat.” However, it gives three exceptions. And these exceptions are that: one, if there is a division in his political party and he leaves to another party owing to the division in his party. Secondly, if there is a merger of two political parties as it happened in 2014 when ACN, CPC, APP and a fraction of APGA came together and formed APC. Then such a lawmaker can retain his seat if he now emerges as a member of another political party. And thirdly, if there is a faction in his party and he remains a member of one faction of that party he still remains a member of the National Assembly. But sadly, what the politicians have exploited to defect from one party to another is on the first requirement which is on the question of if there is a division the party. My view, given the plethora of cases that have established that those who have defected from their party to another party in the National Assembly are no longer members, and would not need anything else for that seat to be declared vacant, Akpabio, Bukola Saraki and the rest have lost their membership of the National Assembly. I am hoping that APC, being the majority party, will take a firm stand and ensure that those who defected from the party are no longer allowed to sit in the National Assembly because they have lost their right to sit as members of the legislature having defected from the party without any justification. I am also expectant that they will encourage the defectors to go back to their constituencies and seek re-election. Doing so would set the agenda, bring fidelity into the political process and reposition the APC as a party that respects the fact that the electorate are the ones that actually elect lawmakers into parliament, and that the lawmakers, when elected, cannot on their own decide on what platform they can operate in the National Assembly. Many Nigerians see the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole as belligerent and unable to differentiate between party and labour activism. Does this not pose a problem for the APC? To every individual there are defining character traits. I believe that anybody who knows Adams Oshiomhole for the last seven years would know that he is an activist. If he has a cause, he pursues it to its logical conclusion. For the totality of the APC members to vest on him the powers as their Chairman, it means they have confidence in his ability to lead the APC. He has been there for just few months; he is settling down and bringing his person into the office of the Chairman of the party. We are confident that he will lead the party to victory. He will make sure that supremacy of the party is entrenched and people will have respect for the party as an institution and not be subjugated to any individual or government and the party will stand. I believe that is what he is trying to achieve and that requires the support of every member of the party in order to achieve that.

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