From Okwe Obi, Abuja

The Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has insisted that elected officials, who move from the political parties that they won elections to another party should automatically lose their seats.

It described cross-carpeting as a ‘political robbery, that is unfair and unjust, and impedes the nation’s democracy,’ insisting that it should not be condoned in a nascent democracy like Nigeria.

IPAC’s National Chairman, Yusuf Dantalle, stated this at the first South South IPAC Leadership Conference organised by the Rivers State chapter, and entitled: ‘Good Governance and Security as Panacea for Grassroots Development’, yesterday in Port Harcourt.

“IPAC canvasses a stop to cross-carpeting by elected members of the legislatures without cogent reasons.

“It should be abrogated outright, and those who defected after winning elections on the platforms of other political parties should lose their seats. It is political robbery, unfair, unjust and impedes the nation’s democracy.

“In a constitutional democracy like ours, the strength and vibrancy of political parties are crucial pillars upon which the edifice of governance stands.

“It is imperative that we continuously strive to enhance the capacity and inclusivity of political parties ensuring they remain true representatives of the diverse voices and aspirations of our populace.”

Meanwhile, ahead of the Edo and Ondo governorship election, Dantalle, who is also the chairman of the Allied People’s Movement (APM), implored the electorate to reject vote trading and ballot box snatching.

When citizens fail to participate actively in electoral matters and hold public officers accountable, the consequence would be poor leadership and bad governance.

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Also, he called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a peaceful exercise.

“When citizens fail to participate actively in their government and hold public officers accountable, the consequence is poor leadership and bad governance.

“Citizens’ participation in government is fundamental to the delivery of dividends of democracy as obtainable in developed democracies.

“That is why their governments work for them or are voted out in subsequent elections, and leaders who breached the laws are investigated, prosecuted and jailed if found guilty to serve as a deterrent to others.

“Good governance, therefore, starts with electing competent, resourceful, visionary and pragmatic leaders in free, fair, credible, transparent, inclusive and peaceful elections.

“Election is the beauty of democracy. It is the reason IPAC emphasises the need for transparent polls and mobilises eligible voters to register and exercise their franchise in all elections.

“Council urges all voters in the forthcoming Edo and Ondo gubernatorial elections to turn up en masse to vote and ensure their votes are counted in the overall results.

“Council also urges INEC to provide a level playing field to all the political parties and their candidates participating in the Edo and Ondo governorship polls and ensure that all election materials and equipment are adequate, tested and in good condition to avoid undue hitches and glitches that could mar the polls.

“The electorate should shun vote buying and selling, violence and rigging. Citizens should not mortgage their destiny for a morsel of electoral porridge and spend the next four years lamenting hardship and bad governance.

“We must make our democracy work and hold governments at all levels accountable. It is the essence of democracy,” he added.

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