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LEGISLATING ON PARTY SYSTEM, ABNORMAL – UNPP CHIEFTAIN

By NBF News

Ebonyi State House of Assembly candidate of the United Nigeria Peoples Party (UNPP) in the 2003 election, Mr. Chukwuemeka Eze, has thrown his weight behind the National Assembly over its rejection of a two-party system, in the proposed Constitution amendment.

Eze, who is also a member of the 'Designated Non-Financial Institutions Against Money Laundering' (DNFI), an agency in the Federal Ministry of Commerce and Industry, averred that it is undemocratic to legislate the number of political parties that should exist in a country. He opined that rather than making it a legislative matter, conditions should be given for floating political parties or their continued existence, so that those that fail to meet those conditions would fizzled out.

Funding of political parties
Sincerely speaking, I'm averse to funding of political parties by the Federal Government because it promotes armchair politicking whereby one man would be synonymous to a party. I prefer a situation where people of the same political ideologies will be allowed to voluntarily come together and form political parties. Immediately you stop funding political parties, it will whittle down the number naturally. Also, I am equally opposed to legislating the number of political parties.

If you make it two, the danger is that a more powerful cabal will ask most of his colleagues to go to the second party and hijack it. It will throw up a situation whereby two parties are on paper whereas one is on ground. To that extent, I am opposed to a two-party system. Let them die naturally. For instance, the law might say any party that scores five per cent in a general election will continue to exist as a party, but if you score lower, you naturally die. What I am saying in essence is that there should be conditions upon which a group might attain political status.

I support the National Assembly's rejection of the two-party system. If it should come by way of lawmaking, the Senate can dispassionately prescribe conditions that will whittle down the number of political parties.

IBB candidacy
General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (rtd) is a Nigerian. He is free to contest any election. But his problem, is the moral angle, because many Nigerians believe that he does not have the moral right to go for the number one position of this country again. Personally, I think, he should remain elder statesman. He should not join the train. He should not get into the ring to box at his age. He should be advising younger people to stake the reins of power. We are in the digital age. Let's allow a digital man to be empowered.

Anyway, good leadership they say, is not a product of age. But nevertheless, people like IBB coming to power will amount to recycling of people. Moreover, the event of June 12, 1993, left many Nigerians as orphans because so many people lost their lives because there was so much chaos in the land. Based on that, and his antecedents. I think it will be in his best interest not to run in 2011.

In any case, legally speaking, he is free to do so, but I think he should not enter the ring at this age to box. Let him rest and enjoy his wealth. He should allow younger people to go in. And by now, if IBB does not have younger ones to support, that means all these eight years he was in power he failed in his duty to be a father to the people. There is a level you get to in life, you tell your children to go and do the fighting while you encourage them. He should be contended with having been in these positions. Perhaps, he wants to equal Obasanjo's record as the second military man that ruled in a civilian regime. That is good, but nevertheless if I am his personal adviser, notwithstanding his good qualities, I would advise that he should not join the train.

As to what he claimed to have left behind in Aso Rock when he stepped aside, the fact is that in life you can never complete something. It is where you stop another person will continue. For instance, did Yar'Adua complete his tenure? At times, you must not wait for death to stop you from completing something. There are times, you would decide that let those you have propped up continue from there. To that extent, I don't think he has forgotten anything save for the grammar that he 'stepped aside' (laughter). If that is what he is going to fulfill, then one can understand from that angle, besides that I don't think he really forgot anything at Aso Rock.

There is nothing wrong in probing somebody, after all the whole matter will be taken to court. In this country we are too sensitive. If his hands are clean, he should even welcome the probe, at least if not for anything to put the records straight and clear every accusation about his tenure as a military presidency for eight years. I don't know the hullabalo about probe as if there is something sancrosant.

It is this mentality that some people are untouchable. If not for that, I don't think one should be afraid of probe. Perhaps, one may be wondering why it is taking place now, but if you have done something in life, there will be a time you would be called up to answer rightly or wrongly. So whatever you do whether in power or not, you should expect a day of query for your action or inaction. I think IBB should not fear his shadow. If his hands are clean as he claimed, the probe will showcase it. In fact, even if they are witchhunting him, Nigerians will support him. That will even fetch more supporters for him. He should not begin to cry wolves where there is none just because of probe. By the way, the probe was done at the time Okigbo wrote the report.

The only thing is just to look at the status book to see whether there are specific crimes committed arising from his management of funds. If the state comes to a conclusion that certain crimes were committed, in an era of rule of law, the proper thing to do is to drag him to court and no judge will be looking at his face to send him to prison.

After all, he has secured legal victory before over this matter during the Oputa panel era. He went to court and he was able to stop the government from releasing the white paper on Oputa panel report as it affects him. I believe government will not embark on jungle justice against IBB. So what is IBB afraid of or what are his supporters afraid of. Are they afraid of witch hunting IBB?IBB is an institution. Can you witch hunt him? It is difficult to witch hunt him. Let him give clean account of his past. In fact, that will even help him.