FREE SPEECH AND MEMBERS OF POLITICAL PARTIES IN NIGERIA 


The  front page of a reputable newspaper in Imo State published todau that the All Progressives Congress (APC)  may sanction one of its stalwarts,  Uche Onyeagocha for his position on ‘Imo Charter of Equity’ and his reported threat to Quit the party if the Charter is not observed. This short post is not on the said Imo Charter of Equity. Also, my intention is not to provoke any debate on the ‘Imo Charter of Equity’ here. Please, I request that comments on the said Charter are left out for now. 

My concern now is the need for respect for the fundamental rights of members of political parties in the country, especially their right to think and to express themselves. I confess that I advocate party discipline. I also advocate organizational discipline. However, when the issue concerns freedom of speech, I am for its enjoyment by members of political parties. A political party is not a cult group. It is a legal and democratic group and must be tolerant to other voices. 

I strongly believe that a member of a political party should be free to publicly express his or her views on important public issue, especially when the party seems to be on a wrong course and appears unrepentant. On this premise, I think Uche Onyeagocha has the right to think and to freely express himself on the issue of ‘Imo Charter of Equity’ if he has found that his party seems unrepentant on the issue of which zone will produce the Governor of Imo State in 2019 and these rights he activated. It is better to speak out before an injury is done than after the injury is inflicted. I am wondering: Why should APC threaten him with sanction? 

I doubt that the threat of sanction is,  indeed, the official thinking or position of APC. For it will make a mockery of the party, if there is a sanction against him for  expressing himself.

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