Nigerian political parties and the best path to tread, by Abdulrazak Iliyasu Sansani

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Abdulrazak Iliyasu Sansani.
Abdulrazak Iliyasu Sansani.

The Path

We have spent over 20 years of uninterrupted democracy. Something that is unprecedented in the entire history of our dear nation. This is indeed worthy of adulation from every concerned citizen.

But we have to comprehensively analyse or attempt to in order to proffer solutions to some major challenges bedevilling our democracy or at least the electoral process in the biggest democracy in Africa.

We had over 90 political parties. With some putting it at 91, 92, whatever it was. Multiparty system democracy just as any other thing has its merits and demerits. Chief among the merits is that it promotes freedom of association more, which should be one of the pillars of our democracy.

Thus, I am fully aware of the merits and will not attempt to criticise it except,  when I have reasons that overwhelmingly support the alterations of this, with a view to getting a better result that helps our nascent democracy and moves our country forward.

I am not a fanatical supporter of the two-party system. No, I am an avowed supporter of the multiparty system. This I have asserted in unequivocal terms in different fora. But we must not continue to accept a system with a lot of flaws which our lawmakers have to legislate on and vividly amend it for one that will be much better.

I see no reason with our continued insistence on a system that has apparently failed. When we can at worst-case scenario, explore another system which we can then decide which suits us best.

There is nothing wrong with experimenting on an avalanche of options at our disposal. For it is far better to do so than allow the amateurish way in which our electoral process is to continue.

I certainly will never ever crave to behold what happened at the last general elections recur in Nigeria something which has become a recurring decimal based on the records of elections conducted with these too many parties.

People simply decide to form parties and allocate positions to themselves without making any effort to win elections and proffer solutions which is the ultimate goal of which a political party is formed or rather help the nation by acting as a watchdog to the government in power. For political parties should be about advancing good governance.

I believe it is one of the major features of Political parties. Anything short of that defeats the essence of which political parties are formed. As a nascent democracy which holds a lot of promises because of its immense population and enormous potentials, I believe it is high time we got truly serious with building a great democratic nation that will propel our country into a celebrated democracy in the true sense of the word.

I pray we never sunk deeper than the sheer mockery of our hard-earned democracy in a manner that it was mocked at the last general elections: where some candidates simply wanted to add the title former Presidential candidate of so and so party to their names without even an iota of seriousness to emerge victorious at the polls, without even a semblance of advancing the democratic credentials of Nigeria or rather themselves through robust and active participation or at least give a befitting fight to the incumbent.

This must stop. And it must stop now if we are to ever build an advanced democracy that has proven to be extremely elusive.

A scenario where someone decides to form a political party merely to satisfy some egotistical whims should never be allowed to deter our quest for development. Come to think of it. In the concluded 2019 elections, we saw how many votes the person that took 3rd position in the Presidential election garnered.

Sorry to say but it highly defeats rationality that he got 110,196 with more than 20 million valid votes cast and was not even part of the equation prior to the elections.

Sorry to ask, but did you know how he emerged? It is laughable that it took the alteration of a certain popular political party logo and a name akin to that political party to beat much more popular candidates who had campaigned across the country.

It must be noted that I have nothing personal against any candidate or any party. I think I am doing what any other patriot would do if given the opportunity to assert his or her opinion.

In a country that had 91 or was it 92 political parties?  it was hilariously ridiculous that it took a party which hid under the cover of another popular party to dislodge other candidates who at least vividly participated in the electoral process and not those that only appeared after the result had been announced.

It does not portray a good thing for our country. It depicts a broken system which takes us so many steps backwards. We cannot afford the luxury of continuity with this opaque and easily manipulative system.

Going forward, we have to come up with a new and advanced system. One that best suits us. I will suggest that the National Assembly come up with a system that allows a maximum of 12 parties. We can decide on 3, 5 or even more.  But it should not exceed 12.  I believe this will give us the chance to build a democracy that will be a model for Africa.

Thus, I absolutely welcome INEC recent deregistration of 74 parties, as empowered by section 225 of the 1999 constitution as amended,  though some of the parties have already gone to court to challenge that, with some also already getting ready to go to court. Regardless of what happens, I am fully on the side of INEC.

The National Assembly should go further to make it even tougher for any new party to be registered. There should be amendments that empower INEC and limits the number of parties to a maximum of 12. It will be an exercise in futility, if all those parties are eventually delisted, only for them to be registered again using a different name, logo and constitution or even similar.

We must end all these grand mockeries of our democratic credentials and institutions in order to favourably help our quest for building strong, firm and good democratic institutions that invariably help our dear country.

Good bless Nigeria.

Abdulrazak Iliyasu Sansani wrote from Turaki B, Jalingo, Taraba State.

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