Chairman of Labour Party, Chief Dan Nwanyanwu
By Onyebuchi Ezigbo
The Chairman of Labour Party, Chief Dan Nwanyanwu, has advocated a switch to a two-party system as a way of ensuring stability in the country’s polity.
Delivering a lecture titled: ‘Transformation of Nigeria Politics: The Labour Party Perspective,” at the Institute of the Security Studies in Abuja at the weekend, Nwanyanwu also suggested the removal of immunity clause on criminal matters and such crimes against the state in a way that even governors and all those in the position of authority would be made to face the law when found wanting.
While justifying his call for a two-party structure, Nwanyanwu alleged that out of the 62 political parties in existence in Nigeria today, 30 of them are owned and sponsored by the Peoples Democratic Party.
He said only nine of the existing parties have functional offices in Abuja as stipulated by the electoral laws.
“The best political system for Nigeria is a two-party system. Such arrangement will make it difficult for rigging because it is just two parties, there will be no need for anybody to carry ballot boxes because there won’t be such opportunity. Touts will not have jobs and the electoral tribunal will be useless because a clear winner will emerge just as was the case in 1992 general election between the SDP and NRC,” he said.
According to him, the Nigerian electoral system that encourages multi-party system is a disservice to the nation and under such arrangement, electoral fraud can never be checked.
Nwanyanwu also saluted the courage of President Goodluck Jonathan for upturning the plots by the Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, to introduce N5000 note against the wishes of Nigerians.
He called on the National Assembly to make a law that will punish public officers who deliberately misadvise the government as well as laws that will make electoral fraud impracticable.
Speaking on the rot in the Nigerian judicial system, the Labour party chief said it is a reflection of the deep rot in the nation’s political system.
“Understaffed, under-motivated and underpaid, Nigerian justices and the institutional structure they service are very open to political contamination; are morally and ethically compromised; and dispense justice in a manner that services the rich and harms the poor, the powerless and the voiceless.
“Even with the establishment of the EFCC and the ICPC, the number of politicians who have been arraigned for various corruption-related offences since 2007 is infinitesimal and the rate of conviction is next to nothing.
“Till date, over 90 per cent of these cases are still pending in court, most at even the technical stages of moving motions and counter-motions on preliminary objections and jurisdiction of particular courts. With fraudulently looted funds easily dispensed, the path to justice has been strewn with delay, time wasting and even ineffective and inefficient prosecution.
“The comprehensive reform of the Nigerian judicial system is long over-due. The application of the law leaves much to be desired. Faulty and self-contradictory judgments, mishandling of election petitions by judges who apply arbitrary legal principles, the use of the judiciary to settle personal and political scores, and the outright purchase of judicial decisions with impunity are some of the untoward realities that define the Nigerian judicial space. Most decisively, we see this irrational judicial phenomenon manifest in the realm of corruption related cases.
“Corruption has become the huge social and moral monster it is precisely become offenders are confident of getting away with their crime against society. They are confident that there are sufficient individuals, in and out of the judicial system, that will protect them, cover up their misdeeds, slow down the judicial pace, ‘trap’ the whole process in a judicial quagmire and ensure that matters will ultimately be settled in their favour.
Nwanyanwu said the current state of the nation’s judicial system is one reason why corruption has remained hugely attractive, and why many public officers loot and plunder the national treasury brazenly, and with ruthless impunity.”
Nwanyawu gave instance of the 32 files belonging to some former state governors of which former EFCC chairman, Nuhu Ribadu, said was pending for prosecution.
“Some of these governors are now in the senate, some are major stakeholders when in actual sense they should be in the prisons.
“We still operate a political system that supports corruption but we need laws that can fight corruption, we need to separate courts that will threat corruption cases,” he said.