Nigeria’s Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, has blamed the withdrawal of government subventions for political parties, on abuse, noting that it was still inadvisable to reintroduce it.
He also said that high level consultations were in top gear to obtain the views of critical stakeholders about the ongoing constitution review.
The Deputy President of the Senate 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, the reason being that it was thoroughly abused by some people. They register a political party and wait for election. Government gives them subvention, 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.
“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 work hard”, he added.