Every citizen of this country has a duty to ensure that our democracy is practiced according to its tenets and principles. Even when the common masses do not understand these issues, it then behooves on the elite class to ensure that such is achieved.
I strongly think our democratic height in 1999 and 2011 can never be the same. If there were mistakes we made in 1999 because democracy was new and we needed time to acquaint our selves properly to its true practice, such cannot be acceptable now. This is why Senator Ogunlewe’s cross carpeting from AD to PDP in 2002 could be over looked as against Hon. Ben Uwajimogu’s cross carpeting from PDP to APGA in 2011, which calls for a more critical look on the sanctity of electoral mandate.
In a multi party democracy, political parties are formed based on ideologies and philosophies known as manifestos and this is further transformed into programs of action to be carried out by the party if elected into office. Intending contestants in elections after studying the manifesto of a party decides to either run on its platform or to look for another one that may be compatible with their individual aspirations.
During election, the parties go on campaign with their candidates who they present to the electorates as the instrument to be used in actualizing such programs when elected into office. After party A says for instance I will do ‘x’ when elected and party B says I will do ‘y’, the electorates then decide to elect party A based on her promise to do ‘x’ programs, it means that the electorates have now sent the party through her candidate on a message to go and do ‘x’ program for them.
This mandate becomes very sacrosanct to the holder. The holder who is now the elected officer has no right to tamper with the mandate of the people and should simply return such to the people any time he feels uncomfortable in carrying the mandate. For the person carrying the mandate who is sent on a mission to achieve ‘x’ to now deviate into going to achieve ‘y’ amounts to betrayal of trust and demystification of the sanctity of the mandate given to him or her.
The moral burden of this act is unimaginable in developed democracies but here it is thrown to the wind. In our constitution cross carpeting for law makers are conditioned to happen only when there is crises in a party and if we can be truthful to ourselves then we can see no crisis in P.D.P now that calls for that. As a social crusader I do not belong to any political party and do not intend to hold brief for any, but I am merely stating the fact the way it is. I have always maintained this position right from the days of Senator Ogunlewe’s decampment and others that followed suit.
The man in question at this time, Hon. Ben Uwajimogu the Speaker of Imo House of Assembly has tried to justify his act by claiming to have defected to A.P.G.A in order to provide better service to Imo people, a claim which to me is very hollow in its conviction depth. Multi party democracy in the true sense negates party homogeneity in governance. In the United States today the Republicans now have higher membership in one of the legislative chambers with a Democratic party President and it has not hampered governance.
Within our Nigeria here, Governors Peter Obi of Anambra state, Adams Oshimole of Edo state and Olusegu Mimiko of Ondo state were all of different parties to the majority of their Houses of Assembly and yet they are performing well. Even the former Governor Ikedi Ohakim who today is adjudged to have performed but for his arrogance and insulting mouth was able to function effectively for over two years with an opposition House of Assembly before cross carpeting to the P.D.P which yours truly criticized also at that time.
It is common knowledge to even a layman to know that a governor will sit up and work hard with an opposition House of Assembly than with one of his party. The duty of the House is primarily to make laws that by implication will guide executive actions and to exercise oversight function on the activities of the executive. The point I wish to make here is that the essence of forming political parties is to capture power and where you have different parties in control of the two arms of government (ie the executive and the legislature) then there is bound to be a healthy check on each other towards ensuring that every arm lives up to its responsibility as each would want to discover a loop hole in the activity of the other that it will use to attract the sympathy of the electorate for future election.
I am aware that Hon. Uwajimogu defected with about three others from the P.D.P to the A.P.G.A and I make bold to state that the Speaker’s action cannot be separated with a probable personal reason of launching into the juice of government which flows from the executive a behavior that has characterized the conduct of our political class. There is absolutely nothing he could have done while in A.P.G.A that he could not have done even better in P.D.P. His defection will certainly make him a stooge of the executive which has started manifesting in the complacency of the House with respect to some present actions of the Executive which require legislative oversight.
This article is not intended to demand that the Speaker rescind his action (though in the eyes of democracy he is carrying a burden that demands resignation) but to educate our people on the sanctity of electoral mandate. This situation applies to all elective positions and after twelve years of democratic experiment we need to be getting it right. Our law makers especially at the National Assembly have refused to respect the sanctity of electoral mandate by their indifference in making a law against unreasonable defection in the electoral act because they are the guiltiest of this act.
Comr. Aku Obidinma (Abdul)
(Social crusader, 07039519256)