The Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) has thrown its weight behind the call by All Progressives Congress (APC) to its members in the National Assembly to block all legislative proposals by President Goodluck Jonathan.
The CNPP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Osita Okechukwu, said the initiative was aimed at reinforcing the doctrine of federalism.
According to CNPP, the non-interference by the federal government in the affairs of Rivers State remains the latest litmus test of the president’s take on federalism.
The statement read in part: “We are alarmed that the president seems to have scant regard for the fact that Nigeria is a federal state, not a unitary system or a confederacy. Before the Rivers State crisis, his scant regard for federalism was more noticeable in the distribution of revenue, hence his serial altercations with the Nigerian Governors’ Forum.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the doctrine of federalism basically captures the middle ground between unitary system and confederacy. Accordingly, the request of the governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, as the chief security officer of the state for the transfer of Commissioner of Police, Mbu Joseph Mbu, is a constitutional right guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which states inter alia under Section 5(2) (a), ‘the executive powers of the state shall be vested in the governor’, and in Section 176(2), ‘the governor shall be the chief executive of the state’.
“Our understanding of the directive by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to its members in the National Assembly to block executive bills, pending the restoration of the rule of law and constitutionalism in Rivers State, is a valid and due process to reinforce the doctrine of federalism and return the president to the path of best practices in statesmanship”.
The CNPP spokesman noted that the tactics adopted by the APC is neither subversive nor unconstitutional as echoed by propagandists and praise singers who most of the time are self-serving.
The umbrella body for opposition political parties argued that as a shadow government, APC has the constitutional right to draw the attention of the president when he is crossing the thin line between federalism and the unitary system or confederacy, until the proposed conference amends the current constitution.
CNPP furthered wondered why some of its members, like the Labour Party, the National Conscience Party and other eminent Nigerians, are on the same page with President Jonathan in “his subtle subversion of federalism, and enthronement of unitary system through the back door”.
“In summary, we are at a loss why President Jonathan, as commander-in-chief, is looking the other way, while an inferno is brewing in Rivers State.
“We therefore, appeal to him to uphold the doctrine of federalism, as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. And that more than any other Nigerian, he has the single honour and privilege to put off the Rivers State inferno. And one way of doing this is to direct the Inspector General of Police to transfer Mbu Joseph Mbu to Borno or any other state in observance of the doctrine of federalism”, the statement added.