Defection: Concerns Mount over Nnamani’s Electoral Reform Job

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  •  APC: defection good for us
  • Let him resign, says PDP chieftain

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The decision of the former Senate President, Senator Ken Nnamani, to formally join the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has elicited public reactions over a possible clash of interests on his position as the Chairman of the Electoral Reform Committee.

While some of the political stakeholders have expressed fears that his move to the APC may conflict with his leadership position in the committee saddled with the mandate of proffering reformative changes in the country’s electoral system, others, especially his new party saw nothing wrong with that.
The former Senate president resigned from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and also temporarily from active politics in February 2016.
Nnamani was subsequently appointed to head the electoral reform committee in October last year by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Reacting to last weekend’s formal declaration of Nnamani for the APC in his Enugu home, a chieftain of the PDP, Chief Patrick Okomiso, asked him to resign from the committee.
Another politician and the Secretary General of the Conference for Nigerian Political Parties, Willy Ezugwu, also faulted Nnamani’s move to join the ruling party when he is still yet to conclude his assignment on the electoral reforms, describing it as too hasty.

“Well, you see in as much as every person can jump the gun, you can do what you want to do but at times, people should be able to check integrity when they are doing some certain things. If we are learning America’s kind of democracy, they should have learnt how the Americans do their things.

“So, in most cases, l see Nigerian politicians as political prostitutes. How many of the political parties have they joined in the last 15 years? Is that the way to play the politics; is that the way to have integrity? It is very unfortunate!

“You are holding a position and what is the rush in joining a political party when you are given a mandate on how to reorganise the electoral system in the country. So, to me, it is very, very pathetic and uncalled for,” he said.
However, another politician who contested for the presidency on the platform of the African Peoples Alliance (APA), Adebayo Musa Ayeni, said there is nothing to be concerned about Nnamani’s move to restart active politics in APC.
He said: “You cannot compartmentalise ideology in politics. People are political either within or without. When he was given the position, he was a PDP chieftain and his mental capability to do things right should not be eroded for being a member of a political party.

“So, people of integrity should be allowed to work not minding their political affinity. Nnamani has what it takes to chair the committee given his experience in politics. If you prevent some persons from doing a job because of their political afiliation you will lose a lot of potential.
On his part, the Executive Director of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Auwal Ibrahim Musa Rafsanjani, said he is surprised at the defections happening now because politicians do not base their decisions on ideology.

Refasanani who spoke to Journalists in Abuja, said it is only principle or ideology that will help bring about the desired change, rather than self-centered interest in order to be politically relevant.
On whether he should resign, Rafsenjani said: “I don’t think he should resign, if he has any idea or capacity to add value to strengthen our electoral system, I think we should not discard him.
According Rafsanjani, the former Senate president was already a practicing politician before he left the PDP and so joining the APC now would not change anything.

“He still remains a politician but the most important thing is whether they’ll be able to do the work as expected by Nigerians. But now, I’ve not seen the committee since its inauguration calling on stakeholders to contribute to what they are doing,” he added.

But the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Bolaji Abdulahi, has welcomed Nnamani’s defection to the APC, describing it as a good omen.

“Well, we are happy over his defection. Every political party should be delighted when people join the party because politics is ultimately a game of numbers. So we are happy that someone of the status of a former Senate president’s calibre is joining our party, and generally it should be a good thing for us that someone of that calibre has joined us,” he said.

He said APC expects to reap huge political dividends from Nnamani’s membership.