Ekweremadu expressed surprise over a recent statement credited to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Commissioner in charge of Nasarawa, Kogi, and Kwara States, Muhammed Haruna, that the electoral body lacked the powers to de-register political parties without further constitution amendments.
The lawmaker stated that all INEC needed to do was to look at the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Fourth Alteration, No. 9) Act published in Official Gazette No. 77 Vol. 105 to be well guided.
Writing on his Facebook handle, he said: “INEC has a germane point because the size of our political parties constitute logistical challenge to the election management body. More electorate now find it difficult to identify the logos of their preferred political parties. The ballots and result sheets are getting too long and unwieldy. It also has cost and time implications on elections.
“However, I believe INEC’s concern has already been substantially addressed by the 1999 Constitution as amended by the Eighth National Assembly and assented by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We inserted a new Section 225A, which provides that the INEC shall have power to de-register political parties for breach of any of the requirements for registration and failure to win at least 25 percent of votes cast in one state of the federation in a presidential election or 25 per cent of votes cast in at least one local government in a governorship election.
“It further empowers INEC to de-register any party that fails to win at least one ward in the Chairmanship election or one seat in the National Assembly or State House of Assembly election or one seat in the Councillorship election.
“What it means is that a political party may continue to exist. But once it appears on the ballot, it becomes compulsory for it to meet certain benchmarks to continue to exist.
“So, it is incumbent on INEC to filter out and de-register those political parties that appeared on the presidential election ballot but did not garner at least 25 per cent of votes in at least one state of the federation. It should also look at parties that contested election in the states and de-register those political parties that did not poll up to 25 per cent of votes in at least one local government area in those states they contested election.
“The idea is to encourage political parties to see election as a serious democratic exercise and to confine themselves to the level of election they have reasonable structures, support base, and resources to win or show substantial strength; otherwise our elections will become unmanageable at a point.”
Ekweremadu disclosed that efforts to checkmate the mushrooming of political parties in Nigeria started in the Sixth National Assembly in 2010 with the stoppage of subventions by INEC to political parties.
Islamic group attacks CAN, insists Christians abducted Muslim children for Jesus Christ in Kano
Recall that MURIC had described the abduction of nine Muslim children in Kano and their alleged conversion to Christianity as kidnapping for Christ.
In its reaction, Northern CAN described MURIC’s statement as ‘reckless, irresponsible, derogatory and provocative utterances.’
However, in a statement to DAILY POST on Monday, MURIC maintained its earlier position on the matter, insisting that CAN should put its house in order.
MURIC’s statement was signed by its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
It added, “There is incontrovertible evidence that Muslim children have been kidnapped, converted to Christianity and sold into slavery. It is not the Kano 9 alone.
“There are others. There is also indubitable evidence to prove that it did not start yesterday. What is Northern CAN trying to tell us? They are chasing shadows.
“In our statement last Monday, we separated good Christians from bad ones. We also made it clear that we have both the good and the bad among Muslims too. Here are our exact words: ‘We are aware that not all Christians are involved in this criminal behavior.
“Many adherents of Christianity are decent and peace-loving. Such Christians will never descend so low as to seize, convert and sell Muslim children.
“Instead of joining hands with us to condemn the bad ones among us, Northern CAN is seeking to silence us. That is a tall dream. We advise Northern CAN to put its house in order and stop blaming MURIC.
“Afterall, we did not mention anything about kidnapping for Christ until the issue of Kano 9 occurred and the revelation has exposed other similar cases.
“We advise Northern CAN to launch a campaign of love and harmony in the churches. There is an urgent need to deradicalise Christian elements particularly in the Middle Belt region where Muslims are being killed and dumped inside mysterious ponds and narrow wells.
“The same advocacy should be taken to South Eastern Nigeria from where syndicates sponsor sleeper cells to Northern Nigeria to abduct, convert and sell Muslim children into slavery.
“Enough of denials and sentimentalities. Northern CAN should stop defending the indefensible. Its current body language is not remorseful. Your fellow Christians kidnapped Muslim children and converted them to Christianity.
“The Muslims complain but instead of consoling them and checking your members you are firing at the victims from all cylinders. We know you very well. This has always been your style. You never own up.
“We warn that Northern CAN should not drag Nigerian Christians into a controversy that involves only those who are in the dirty business of kidnapping Muslim children for conversion to Christianity.
“We hold Jesus (peace be upon him) in very high esteem and our statement was not intended to malign him. No true Muslim will do that.
“Extremist Christians can kidnap Muslims for Christ. That does not mean that Christ is involved. In fact Christ did not send them. They are only being more Christian than Christ himself.
“Jesus never taught men to be wicked. He taught love, kindness and righteousness. It is highly mischievous of Northern CAN to attempt to whip up sentiments over mere semantics.
“We find it difficult to believe CAN’s words, ‘No Christian has associated Muslims with such criminal acts. We only cry for our own who are victims’. Really?
“This is a false claim and Nigerians know better. What of all the allegations against us in the early days of Boko Haram attacks on churches?
“On a last note, we invite Northern CAN to put its house in order and join hands with the authorities in fishing out remaining sleeper cells for the kidnapping and conversion of Muslim children to Christianity.
“We can all coexist peacefully but we must first eschew parochialism and address issues objectively. We can change this atmosphere of mutual suspicion if only we can be sincere with ourselves.”
Terrorists kill four soldiers in Borno
At least four Nigerian soldiers and a militia fighter were killed in clashes with IS-aligned jihadists in Borno State, security sources told AFP on Sunday.
Fighting erupted late on Saturday when troops ambushed a convoy of the Islamic State West Africa Province near Jakana Village, 42 kilometres from the state capital, Maiduguri.
Several troops were also injured and four trucks were lost to the militants, a soldier said.
The jihadists were riding in pick-up trucks fitted with machine guns according to a source, who confirmed the death toll.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the Nigerian military said seven jihadists were killed and eight injured when their vehicle hit a landmine during a clash near Jakana on Friday.
The improvised explosive device had been planted by the jihadists, army spokesman Colonel Aminu Iliyasu was quoted as saying.
The decade-long conflict, which spilt into Nigerian neighbours — Niger, Chad and Cameroon — has killed at least 35,000 people and forced some two million to flee their homes in Nigeria alone.
President Buhari departs Abuja Monday
A statement by the President’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Sunday, said the summit would focus on exploring and expanding opportunities in security, trade and investment, science and technology, and gas production.
During the summit, President Buhari will meet with President Vladimir Putin of Russia to further strengthen relations between Nigeria and Russia.
Shehu stated that the two leaders would hold bilateral talks on security, trade and investment, and building partnership that would enhance Nigeria’s huge gas potential, following Russia’s remarkable success in gas exportation.
“The summit, which will be attended by African Heads of State, will bring fresh perspectives on some global issues and challenges like nuclear technology, energy development, digital transformation, environment, technical security, mining and steel, education, agriculture, infrastructure and development strategies.
“An African Business Forum, which will bring together African and Russian business leaders, will be held during the event to enhance Russian investments in Africa, and promote African business interest in the host country,’’ he added.
Shehu added that Buhari would be accompanied by Governors Muhammad Yahaya of Gombe state, Bello Matawalle of Zamfara and Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State.
Others on the trip are: Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite and Minister of State, Petroleum, Timipre Sylva.
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