On June 12, 2014, an All-Political Parties Summit was held in Abuja with the theme: Inter-Party Collaboration, National Stability & Democratic Consolidation. I was invited as a lead discussant at the event. President Goodluck Jonathan declared the Summit open.
It was indeed a commendable initiative of the Federal Government of Nigeria, jointly convened by the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) to the President and the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Inter-Party Affairs. The choice of the day, June 12, is instructive because it was on that day in 1993 that an election rated as being free and fair was annulled.
The aim of the Summit was to energize inter-Party collaboration with a view to deepening democracy in Nigeria. I was a discussant at the event. Five papers were presented viz;
*Political Parties, Social Stability, National Security & Democratic Consolidation: The Nigerian Experience
*Inter-Party Collaboration, Positive Political Space & Reduction of Electoral Violence: Principles, Practices & Prospects
*Leading by Example: Political Parties, Patriotic Values, Good Governance & the Notion of Loyal Opposition
*Overheating the System: Political Conflicts & Media Reporting
*Code of Conduct as a Political Norm: Formulating Political Parties-led Action Plan for Free, Fair, Transparent, Credible & Violence-free 2015 General Elections
The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Attaghiru Jega gave the keynote address, where he emphasized the fact that Political Parties are at the heart of the democratic process. They should therefore balance the paradox of competition among themselves to win elections and the critical role of maintaining system equilibrium.
In all, the speakers, discussants and participants agreed that:
*All Political Parties should support the Federal Government in the fight against terrorism.
*The Nigerian project is bigger than any Political Party.
*The collaboration between the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should be "solidified" by funding both bodies, especially IPAC adequately.
*Inter-Party collaboration is crucial for democracy and Internal Party Democracy (IPD) is an essential element.
*The Code of Conduct (CoC) signed by the Political Parties should be adhered to at all times.
*Conflict reporting should be professionally undertaken so that the polity is not un-necessarily heated. Reporters should be adequately trained in the art of conflict reporting.
*Politicians should moderate their utterances.
*"Political nomadism/promiscuity", where politicians elected on the platform of one Political Party defect to other Parties without losing their seats leaves much to be desired.
19th November, 2016
*The feasibility of Nigeria's Political Parties becoming democratic http://t.co/GemhXSxql8
*Nigeria's Political Parties for the most part, are neither democratic nor developmental www.feelib.com/2016/02/nigerian-political-parties-for-most.html