Indeed, the present new model of political parties is generating contradiction and driving Nigeria close to rescinding democracy. The managers of the political parties who often arrogate the name politicians to themselves are enthusiastic to underscore that they are the pillars of the country’s democracy; however, they are silent on the fact that the parties they operate are nothing but a business that looks more of criminal enterprise.
Is the administration of political parties in Nigeria that comes with citizens’ exclusion which triggers rescinding democracy desirable, or sustainable? Unquestionably not! Is the ballot gathering through mass rigging for a periodic election perpetrated by the managers of political parties in Nigeria a necessary price we have to pay in our ignorance of measuring our democracy?
The political merchants and party politics fundamentalists who sing the praise of how the political parties are fundamental to our democracy, are yet to sincerely answer the question, why have political parties in Nigeria turned into private enterprise owned by few individuals against what was obtainable in the First Republic.
For us to have the kind of democracy that will stir citizens’ hopes, and solve problems, we must have political parties that have development as their core internal and national policy that must be perused with vigor and commitment.
Parties’ formation and management must be owned and financed by members and that will come in the form of monthly dues. The model which allows few individuals to own and fund political parties as a business enterprise for the sole aim of power ascension devoid of governance must not be allowed to continue if we are to have a democracy that will set agenda for growth and development.
Because the parties are solely for business enterprise and ascension to power is the only way to guarantee a return in investment, our politics at the moment is highly confrontational.
One way we can begin to redefine our democracy as a nation is to have political parties that are people driving, owned, and managed by the people that translate popular opinion to state policies.
Without the ownership of political parties returning to the people as we saw in the First Republic, we are not going to build parties that will stir citizens’ hope and have a democratic consolidation we all hope for.
Apparently, all countries that have the kind of democracy we aspire for, did so because their political parties understand that party politics do not take the place of governance, and, did not allow the business of party merchants to take over the state vision and aspiration.
Our model which bases on the intensification of party ownership and control in the hands of few individuals with the sole aim of ascension to power and economic benefit to those who have invested huge resources in the party must not be allowed to continue if we must have a democracy that will stand the test of time.
We must remodel our political process. Our political parties are not engaging the population; they are essentially “periodic vote gathering organizations.
We do not have any democratic structures within which we have debates on the problems facing us and about the choices that needed to be made.
Our political parties are not people-driven; their ability to understand what is happening in our society is weak.
The factions in our political parties are about patronage – not about the needs of the people.
Audu Liberty Oseni,
Coordinator, Media Advocacy West Africa Foundation (MAWA Foundation)