Former Senate President, Senator Ken Nnamani has said that political parties should not override the government because once a government is formed, political parties are expected to take a back seat.
Nnamani who spoke to journalists in Abuja said this while commenting on the leadership crisis rocking the National Assembly.
He said “There is a wall of difference between theory and practice. When we talk of democratic process and presidential democracy, we are talking about bundle of processes following due processes. In parliament, you don’t prove morality but you talk about justice. We must understand that the legislature is an arm of government. The political party is not an arm of government.
“ It is true that political parties form government when they win election but once they have formed government, government takes the life of its own. It becomes the government of the federation. You are governing those who belong to a party as well as those who don’t belong to a party and even those who are not dreaming of joining a political party. So the government is bigger than the political party that formed it.
“That party that formed the federal government takes a back seat to prepare for another election and would from time to time be advising the government in a subtle manner but not that it will take the front seat. It also applies to the legislature. A legislator is one who is capable of thinking independently. He or she quite understands that the party is supreme and that it was the vehicle that brought him to the parliament. So, having gotten to the legislature through the party, the lawmaker has to show loyalty to the party that offered him the platform. There is also a party loyalty and party discipline. Hence, the National Assembly as an institution is not a party secretariat; you don’t go there to enforce party discipline. It is expected that a party should have prepared its lawmaker enough before sending him out for election.
“However, the moment a party candidate emerges as a lawmaker, he owes a lot to Nigeria because if we are taking about Senate, it is the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and not the Senate of APC or PDP. You owe loyalty to the party but there is an overriding superior constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. If there is no Nigeria, there will be no party. As a lawmaker, your loyalty lies with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and to the Senate.
“The party takes back seat. If there is a claim that the party is bigger than the legislature, you will be making a great mistake which may not work. If the party is as special as being claimed now, let the party submit the list of ministers to show supremacy, you will notice that it will not work. The executive branch of government has the constitutional role to submit the list of ministers. The president himself is a product of the party but the party will not submit the list of ministers to Mr. President. The National Assembly is not a party secretariat. It is the Senate of Federal Republic of Nigeria and not Senate of PDP or APC.”