The Democratic People’s Congress, DPC, has proposed the inclusion of proportional representation in elections in the ongoing Electoral and Constitutional Amendments. Rev. Olusegun Peters, National Chairman of the party in a statement asserted that it will broaden the nation’s political horizon and give voice to more electoral constituencies in both Federal and State House of Assembly.According to him, “the winner-takes-all system in practice is the bane of our democratic process. With Proportional Representation, opposition Political Parties that performed well on elections will have some Federal and State Legislative seats from the massive votes won in the same elections despite another political party securing the highest votes in the same elections.
“The inclusive nature of proportional Representation makes it attractive to many democratic countries around the world that adopted it. It is an ideal electoral system in multi-party democracy and highly recommended for our nascent constitution governance with 45 registered political parties. DPC urges Mr. President and the National Assembly to consider this timely proposal that will lessen friction and factionalisations in the polity of Nigeria.
“Recently , the leadership of National Assembly hinted on the plan to include Independent Candidates in future elections in the country as a way of widening the democratic space and give aspirants who could not obtain their political parties nominations an opportunity to contest various polls conducted by the IndependentNationalElectoral Commission (INEC).”
Rev Peters maintained the DPC is strongly opposed to its inclusion in the ongoing electoral and constitutional amendments as there are myriad of problems confronting the nation’s electoral process that will make its inclusion and implementation an uphill task.
“It is obvious, evident and manifest that the nation’s democratic structures cannot sustain this ambitious proposal now. Till date, INEC is yet to conclude some Legislative elections it conducted during the 2015 general polls. Over two years after the elections were conducted due to insecurity and elongated litigation. Aggrieved aspirants and candidates are still in court challenging the outcome of various elections.
“Today Nigeria has 45 registered Political parties, Although the number falls short of 63 registered political parties in 2012 before the election umpire deregistered half of them, for failure to win a Legislative seat in either Federal or State House of Assembly and meet the requirements for their registration. “With some Nigerians’ penchant to run for office for the fond of it and be addressed as His Excellency, Honourable and former aspirant as a social symbol or status, it is clear that if Independent Candidates are included in elections, there could be over 1000 candidates in a ballot sheet that will confuse most voters and make mockery of our frail democracy. The Nigerian democracy is still emerging with a lot of teething problems and hurdles which will definitely be overcome with time. INEC as presently constituted, cannot handle the herculean task of including Independent Candidates. The personnel and financial cost will be enormous. The situation will be the same if INEC is split as proposed.
“DPC urges the leadership of the National Assembly to reconsider and review its position on Independent Candidates as the nation cannot afford them now. In future when the nation’s democratic structures have been strengthened and deepened, and Nigerians have imbibed democratic ethos, ethics and tenets, we can have Independent Candidates. It should be on hold for now.”