Following the recommendations of the Senator Okunromu Committee that only the political parties with representations in government should send delegation to the National Confab which saw five political parties expected to send their representatives to the confab, the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) has faulted the action describing it as undemocratic.
In a letter to President Goodluck Jonathan by the National Chairman of the party, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, the party disclosed that by that singular decision, a large chunk of Nigerians would have been shut out of the dialogue that would have afforded them the opportunity to be heard adding that it thus negate the essence of the National Conference.
Dr. Aniebonam in the letter titled, “Representation at the Proposed National Conference”, maintained that following the Supreme Court ruling which opened the floodgate for political parties to flourish in the country, Nigerians have come to see and embrace political parties as the right avenues to express their political aspirations and agitations.
He further reminded the President that political parties are not just for the purpose of election alone or being in government but rather to provide an umbrella for those he desc ribed as the marginalized people to aggregate the various opinions and articulate them since it had been discovered that the parties in government due to one reason or the other still cannot speak for all segment of the society.
According to him,” without doubt, the committee did a good job to the best of its ability, however, like in every human endeavour, there must be room for improvement especially in the aspect that concerns those who would represent the various interest groups expected at the conference. Our area of concern as a political party with mass followership across the country is where only about five political parties have been deemed fit to send representatives to the conference”.
“Consequently, it is our belif that if Mr. President restricts himself to the recommendations of the Senator Okunromu committee that only the parties with representations in government should send delegation to the National Confab, a large chunk of Nigerians would have been shut out and this we make bold to say, negates theintention of Mr. President with setting up of the National conference”, Aniebonam said.
He noted that one of the problems of Nigeria is ethnic that has generated a lot of mistrust among the over 350 ethnic groups or nations in the country thus the need to see how this mistrust and misgivings of the various ethnic nationalities were either cosiderably reduced or completely eliminated.
The National Chairman believed that the problem can adequately be addressed when an avenue is created for the ethnic nationalities to come together and engage in frank talk using trhe window provided by all the political parties in Nigeria.
“We must therefore use this opportunity we have to make a difference. One of the grouses of some ethnic nations is the allegation of injustice. I f we agree that this is so, we see no reason why Senator Okunromu and his committee members should recommend that representations from political parties should only come from 4 or 5 political parties which have won elections into the National or State Assemblies. This to us is not equitable. All registered political parties carry the same registration certificate and they all went through the same process to get registered. In other words, all political parties stand equal before the law”, he said.
The NNPP boss therefore called on the President to allow all the political parties recognized by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to go to the National Confab to ventilate the views and opinions of their large followership adding that by so doing, the problem of marginalization would have been solved once and for all.