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Rowdy session as Reps suspend debate over 2-party system

By Tordue Salem
ABUJA—The House of Representatives suspended debate yesterday over Section 80 of the Electoral Act. The Minority Leader of the Green Chamber, Muhammed Ali Ndume, proposed that parties be reduced to two: Peoples Democratic Party and an opposition party.

The House, however, resumes debate on the issue today, as they vote electronically on the restriction on political parties.

In a rowdy session yesterday, members disagreed on re-introduction of a two party system in addition to the provision for independent candidate.

Speaker Dimeji Bankole had assured Nigerians that the House would prune down the number of registered political parties when he hosted the Forum of Ex-Governors, led by former governor of Akwa Ibom state, Obong Victor Attah.

At the resumption of debate on the report of the Ad-hoc Committee on the review of the 2006 Electoral Act, Minority Leader, Ali Ndume suggested that a clause be introduced in the act to limit the number of political parties to two.
Ndume’s suggestion ignited disorder in the chamber as members rose against it with shouting.

Supporting the Minority Leader, Hon Olaka Nwogu [PDP/Rivers) state posited that two parties is good for the nation in view of the multiethnic nature of the country.
According to him, what obtains in the polity today was a situation of the giant and the grasshoppers.

Also in support were Rep. Aliyu Wadada [PDP] Nasarawa, Rep. Dino Melaye(PDP/Kogi), as they argued that it was when the country experimented with two party systems that the best election was recorded.

Rep. Lanre Agroro noted that only two party system would foster unity in the country, while Rep. Jerimon Manwe(PDP/Taraba) was of the view that it would bring decency and sanity into the polity.

Leading the camp of opposition to the re-introduction of two party systems, Rep. C.I.D Madabum [PDP/Anambra) state stated that section 40 of the constitution allows for freedom of association, hence he argued that the section must be amended first.

Two party system, he added was restrictive, while Hon Ita Enang also argued that until the constitution is amended, nothing can be added or remove from it.


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