Following the commencement of constitution amendment debate by State Houses of Assembly, the Democratic People’s Congress (DPC) has called for the adoption of proportional representation in electing state and federal legislators.
The party, in a statement by its national chairman, Rev Olusegun Peters, and made available to newsmen, yesterday, in Abuja, said this will promote inclusive democratic practice, peaceful co-existence, development and stability in the country.
He noted that proportional representation means that the number of seats won by a political party is proportionate to the number of votes received.
“In election under a proportional representative voting system, if 25 per cent of voters support a particular party, then roughly 25 per cent of seats will be won by that party. It is a departure from the current winner-takes-all system obtainable in Nigeria, where a political party that scored the highest votes wins all the seats despite the low margin of votes between the winner and the loser,” he stated.
He said that proportional representation enhances and consolidates constitutional governance by ensuring that smaller political parties that are able to obtain appreciable votes secure legislative seats in proportion to the votes received.
“In this way, small political parties can have their voice heard in state and federal legislatures. It will encourage people to come out en masse to vote as all votes are counted and count in the overall result and seats won which represent the interest groups in the legislative constituencies”, he added.
He observed that, with small political parties in various state and federal legislative houses, there would be inclusiveness in governance which is crucial to stability, unity and progress in a plural society, adding that this would eliminate the age-long cry of marginalisation by various ethnic groups and minorities within a constituency.
He said that the system encourages issue-based politics and robust campaign and eliminates politics of bitterness, violence and brigandage that has impeded our frail democracy.
“Do-or-die politics will be a thing of the past in the nation’s political horizon.
Proportional representation voting system makes power-sharing and interest groups more visible. Including all interest groups in the legislature offers a better hope that decisions will be taken in public interest and by a more inclusive cross-section of the society. This is what a diverse country like Nigeria needs to deepen and strengthen our recent democracy”, he said.
He also noted that the system is practiced in Russia, Israel, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Switzerland, and Norway, among others. “It will eliminate vote buying and selling as a result of winner-takes-all and reduce the cost of electioneering and looting of public treasury for campaign”, he observed.
He therefore urged state and federal houses of assembly to consider and adopt in the ongoing constitutional amendment, proportional representation in election of federal and state lawmakers.
Meanwhile, the DPC national chairman has congratulated the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for its successful elective national convention held on Saturday 9th December 2017, in Abuja.
He advised the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to focus on its campaign promises to Nigerians and stop interfering in opposition parties’ affairs, particularly their prospective aspirants for 2019 general elections.
“Opposition parties are the bedrock of democratic governance and should not be harassed and intimidated by the ruling party as it will impede the nation’s political process”, he added.