On the 5th of February, 2014, I participated in the Nigeria Political Parties Discussion Series (NPPDS), hosted by the Centre for Democracy & Development (CDD), and supported by USAID and IRI. I was involved in my capacity as Senior Fellow, CDD. The NPPDS sets out to facilitate discussion among political parties in Nigeria on entrenching democracy and good governance through strengthened internal party democracy (IPD).
The series brings together political parties, academia, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and the general public on a monthly basis. Each program in the series includes presentations from experts on identified issues, but not limited to Internal Party Democracy, inclusion in political parties, party funding, campaign, party membership, etc.
Each program in the series is aired on national television. Through the use of vox pop, open space technology and world café, CDD facilitates animated and constructive dialogue of the "party system" in Nigeria. It is expected that participants would have the opportunity to learn, share experience on the internal dynamics of political parties and the impact of same on their constituencies. This could facilitate the deepening of democracy and development in Nigeria.
For this edition of the program, the topic was "Internal Party Democracy in Nigeria". The technical expert for the occasion was Prof. Anthonia Okoosi-Simbine, from the Nigerian Institute of Social & Economic Research (NISER), Ibadan. Five political parties were represented - APGA, PDP, LP & APC.
Various aspects of IPD were discussed - candidate selection, level of participation in dialogue, membership, criteria for expulsion, conflict management within parties, process of enacting party laws/rules, affirmative action for disadvantaged groups, voter education and Party Primaries...
15th May, 2018
THE 2ND IN THE PPDS FOR 2018
The second in the PPDS series for 2018 was held in Abuja on the 15th of May, 2018. The series is the brainchild of CDD, supported by OSIWA. In my capacity as Senior Fellow, CDD, I was a participant at the discussion. The following were the panelists:
*Aminu Idris - Director, Election & Party Monitoring, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)
*Bolaji Abdullahi - National Publicity Secretary, All Progressives Congress (APC)
*Emmanuel Agbo - Deputy National Secretary, People's Democratic Party (PDP)
*Peter Ameh - National Chairman, Progressive People's Alliance (PPA)
INEC said the increasing number of registered Political Parties (PPs) is not a challenge to the Commission or the electoral process of the country. Aminu Idris, Director, Election and Party Monitoring, INEC, gave the assurance at the debate on 'Increasing the number of PPs in Nigeria and access to the ballot in 2019'. Nigeria currently has 68 registered PPs. Idris said: 'For the Commission, it is a matter of necessity that we manage the ballot, given the number of PPs we have'
The National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Bolaji Abdullahi, said rather than being a problem, the number of PPs would increase citizens' participation in the electoral process. He said the challenge is that weak PPs, or those without a grassroots base, want to participate in every election, including the Presidential.
Emmanuel Agbo, Deputy National Secretary, PDP, linked the increasing number of PPs to the ambition of some individuals to be PPs' national leaders. Agbo however said that there is a need to enlighten the political class that disagreement within the PPs should not lead to the registration of a new PP. 'The best way to defend democracy is to promote greater understanding among the political class. There must be the ability to tolerate one another, knowing that we come from different economic, political, cultural and social backgrounds, but amalgamated into one organization.
Peter Ameh, National Chairman of the PPA, said that having 68 registered PPs was not a problem, as Senegal has over 150. For Ameh, it is important to treat the root causes of the problems of PPs in the country, rather than treating the symptoms. These root causes, according to him, include defection of officials from smaller PPs to bigger ones and the credibility of Local Government (LG) elections conducted by the State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs). Ameh was of the opinion that the more Nigeria continued to improve its electoral system, the better it would be for Nigeria and her citizens.
In her remarks, the Programme Coordinator, Democracy and accountability, OSIWA, Catherine Angai, said PPs are registered for different reasons, including the mobilisation of the electorate and holding government accountable. She said the debate was to address some salient questions, such as: 'Are PPs doing what they are registered to do? I there Internal Party Democracy?'
This discussion moved the major issues addressed in the PPDS forward, significantly...