Why govt stopped funding political parties —Ekweremadu

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Senator Ike Ekweremadu

THE Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, on Sunday, blamed the withdrawal of government subventions for political parties on abuse, noting that it was still inadvisable to reintroduce it.

Ekweremadu said high level consultations were in top gear to obtain the views of critical stakeholders about the ongoing constitution review.

Ekweremadu spoke when the Inter-Party Advisory Council of Nigeria (IPAC) visited him at the weekend on the ongoing constitution amendment.

He said: “Giving subvention to political parties was the case in the past. But, we had to amend the constitution to remove that because it was thoroughly abused by some people. They register a political party and wait for election, government gives them subvention, and then they put it in their pockets and make no efforts to win. To them, political parties are platforms for making cool money from the government.”

Rather than government funding, he urged political parties to agitate for the introduction of proportional representation to widen political representation in the legislature, which would, in turn, help smaller political parties to thrive.

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Ekweremadu, who spoke through his media aide, Uche Anichukwe, in a statement, said “When this is done, instead of first-past-the-post system where a party that polls the highest number of votes, even by a single vote, takes the parliamentary seat, while the other parties go home empty-handed, no matter how well they performed, parties will now be allocated parliamentary seats based on the percentage of the total votes they garnered in an election.

“That way, smaller parties will be accommodated in the parliament. They will know that they will not go empty-handed if they worked hard.”

He said the National Assembly was holding consultations with some critical stakeholders to ensure a smooth sail of the constitution amendment exercise and an outcome that would be tune with the aspirations of Nigerians.

According to him, “For instance, we have gone to the judiciary. We have gone to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other stakeholders asking them to express their views.

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“We got a lot of responses. So, we are going ahead, and your visit today will help to shape the final document, which we will present to the Senate.”

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