The 2007 Elections And Nigerian Political Parties

  The fever is intense, everyone is talking about the 2007 election, in Nigeria when everyone starts talking even patients at  Psychiatric homes air the views, it is in times like this that I am happy that I am a Nigerian, I am proudly one despite the regret that is attached to that pride...the whole nation is in a frenzy of 2007, everyone that feels important is talking, some that ordinarily would not get newspaper space only need say that we need a free and fair election and gbam he can be guaranteed airtime and this is how our beloved Nigeria has become.

  In the last one year the Nigerian political playing field has been littered with all sorts and manners in the name of political parties and associations, off course can you beat us at the game of looking for relevance....mind me, I have no personal grudge about increasing the number of political parties in a nation of close to 150 million people, on the contrary I am of the opinion that we can have a party that can serve the purpose, aspiration and longing of just a local government so effectively that in the next fifty years that local area will be known as its jurisdiction and people will respect the party based on its performance, so lets register as many.

The pain is that we have the reverse as the case...plenty apologies, does someone like Pastor Chris Okotie whom I like for his big sounding, jaw breaking English think that really, apart from the lovely Sisters in the Lord of his congregation...and the his ushers he would be able to make an impact, at the recent Thisday townhall meeting he said that 'INEC is a "Quango" (whatever that means) with perennial limitations'. His FRESH party looks more utopian than reality.

Away from my friend Chris, we have seen the Action Alliance, so also has the association of disgruntled PDPites meaning termites of PDP come with ACID, I meant ACD...I was privileged to be at the public presentation of the ACD and the least I can say was it had a watered down philosophy and manifesto regarding what it intended to do for this nation. I also could not verify the credentials of the likes of Tom Ikimi, Aniele, Audu Ogbeh and Yomi Edu amongst many, while I questioned what they all could have in common; the launching was simply likened to having breakfast of Tuwo Shinkafa, with Afang Soup, a cup of Lipton tea with local milk and Akara all as one meal.

Trust our leaders for lack of initiative, a copy cat nation, it was Obasanjo during

his campaign trail that once said that "the white man can produce pounding yam machine, we will buy it from them", the lesson since Charles Soludo came with consolidation and merger which has resulted in mega banks, our political parties have refused to be out done in the mega-mega business by going for mega parties.

Checkout a typical headline..."ANPP Not In Merger Talks With PDP" this country sef, I could mention no less than 10 so-called prominent politicians that have been either financiers, benefactors, godfather, mother, son, sister and daughter that has transverse an average of four parties between 1999-2006. Go and ask Jonah Jang, Rochas Okorocha, Etiebet and their likes. The Afenifere based AD has two factions, one of which is a now a co-journey man with ACD. The ANNP has several factions, even one of its strongman Attahiru Bafarawa the don of the Caliphate has left the party to another one, oh apologies, to form his own as usual with like minds. This surprises me, because if after aligning with people of like minds how come the slightest misunderstanding leads to trading of words and heartbreaks.

The self acclaimed PDP has sued the other faction that woke up only weeks back to declare the existing Executive  illegal. This nation of ours could be so sweet in terms of the drama it produces, it would make many a Mexican soap look very ordinary, the only difference is that ours is a real story in which the destiny of millions are being toyed with by apprentice politicians and greedy bosses who find reasons never to do the right thing.

One minute our politicians seem to almost want to get it right but because they are so familiar to getting it wrong, they fail, I know a politician or a so-called elder-statesman that is a Senator, he belongs to a caucus in the Senate, and then retains membership of South-South Peoples Assembly and supports the call for the President to continue for life.

At one of the recent PDP reconciliation meeting, the committee received 60 petitions from Gombe, Bauchi, Yobe, Taraba, Borno and Adamawa and I wonder how a group of people that would complain right from meat not being in the soup, to that the meat is too soft or too hard, in cases that he does not want meat, he rather have fish but when given fish he tells people only yesterday, he had become a vegetarian.

In responding the reconciliation group headed by Iwuanyanwu said "Today AD is dead, so the PDP has no opposition...' what irritating arrogance, it was a Minister that once said that the PDP would rule us for the next 50 years incidentally I met the Minister at the ACD launching smilingly foolishly like a beautiful girl without brains or is it a groom that has not paid his dowry. The Iwuanyanwu of a man further said that " if we (please as in THEY not us) have problems within the PDP, they are capable of resolving them". Quite sad that we are still at this stage of our democracy, when this ‘big thing' was talking he refused to see the Solomon Lar PDP, I wondered which PDP he was referring to, or is it the ACD's PDP, or PDP's ACD.

APGA just with one Governor was battling hard to deny merger talks with ACD, in its denial it said that since "APGA remains attractive to political parties seeking alliance..."what rubbish talk. I have a long time stopped crying for this nation of power miss road leaders and politicians.

What really is a political party, in democratic societies, people who share similar views and goals often join together to form political parties. They do this to strengthen their ability to influence governmental decisions of the nation. However in Nigeria the reverse is the case, we at best have a collection of anything and everything goes, no ideology, they all stand for nothing other than position, money and power, most often they do not have a position that is relevant to any section of the society, be it  farmers, women, children, labor etc.

With seven years already gone in our democratic trek, it is sad that we have parties that do not have a defining process, they have not been able to identify the needs and concerns of the people by interacting with the public at different levels of society, address these needs and concerns through the formulation of policies and thirdly disseminate their policies and messages to the public. Nigerians are full of newspaper tigers, all the policies, achievements and troubles are only seen on the pages of newspapers. Everything in Nigeria at the moment is only on the newspapers, the ruling party has achieved a lot in the three tiers of government through the papers, we have a federal system of governance only on paper. Projects are executed only on the pages of news media.

Nigeria is just a very funny nation, sometimes most of us that are opportune to interact with the power players are often shocked by what we hear and see and confirm to be the truth, fact and unarguably correct. If the ruling party will disintegrate to the point of having a parallel PDP and the police seal off the rival PDP's office in a democracy then something is fundamentally wrong. Plenty talk less action, how Olu Falae, Ezeife, Victor Umeh, can wake up and say they are forming a mega party called DPA, with membership drawn from at least about eighteen existing parties. What difference are these parties prepared to make in lives of impoverished Nigerians.

Reacting to what is now a proliferation of political parties; the President with a wave of hand answer said "was it not the same person that usually writes all the constitutions of these parties"? Sad talk coming from the mouth of a horse (apologies). A political party ordinarily has three persons called voice, choice and continuity. The voice is the capability of parties to provide a voice for different elements of society, and provide a safe means of competing with other parties without threats of violence.

There is nothing wrong with proliferation of political parties, this I have said regularly and I stand by it, but then in line with the personae called choice, political parties should offer a wide variety of choices to allow citizens to select among different ideas of governance, these parties should differ in how they think government should work and what it should provide to its citizens. This is where we get it wrong; all the present political parties are offering the same goods, same price and conditions, so they necessarily would be no different from the party they are seeking to replace. One strong characteristics of TRUE democracy is that it offers at least two or more strong political parties which offer voters a real choice in government, our case is that of political parties of two sides of the same coin nothing is really different in terms of spending value, you are buying and selling at the same rate, same old faces, same ideologies when any is available. So much little for change.

Finally continuity is that beautiful Nubian that says it all, political parties are more effective when they are founded on a set of ideas for governance; this is so because IDEAS LIVE LONGER THAN PEOPLE. If a political party has a strong grounding in ideology, it can keep its members and supporters and provide leadership to the governed even if the leadership changes. This is exactly what is lacking in the political party structure in our nation ahead the polls in 2007.

Fundamentally and lastly it is obvious that in virtually all the thirty something parties, one common characteristic is that none of these parties are really open and transparent, nor committed to a democratic system of governance including free and fair elections, in Nigeria we have elections that are free yet not fair, and fair yet not free. A group of power seekers establish a political party and believes it has monopoly of right and wrong so its members cannot think and believe as they chooses, the members are not carried along and given opportunity to express theirs and made to participate in the decision making process.

I end by saying in the name of political parties what we have are no good compared to some local town union that are better organized, the internal structure that is supposed to determine quantity and quality of what can be accomplished if they get power is in a terrible mess. We beg Almighty Allah for His help in times like these.



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