The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has said that Nigeria’s political parties, including the ruling APC, the main opposition PDP and others are weak, unstable, lacking functional party apparatus, and also suffering from low organizational capacity and internal democracy.
He said political parties that refused to embrace reforms to institute internal democracy risk extinction.
Dogara stated this while delivering a keynote address at a retreat on: ‘Dynamics of Managing Political Parties’ organised by the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) in Abuja yesterday. Represented by the House Minority Whip, Yakubu Umar Barde, he said in an attempt to either capture or hold on to power, some political parties sometimes embellished their manifestos with unrealistic promises which he said amounted to malpractice.
“It is a political malpractice for an elected government to govern without reference to the manifesto that was placed before the voters which essentially formed the basis of their election,” he said.
The speaker stated that for political parties to effectively play central role in democratic representation, they must be managed and operated in such a manner as to establish trust in the electorate.
He lamented that most political parties in Africa, and Nigeria in particular, were weak, lacking not only stable and functioning party apparatus, but also clear programmatic appeal.
“They also suffer from low organisational capacity and lack of internal democracy. Such weak political parties cannot support democracy, as parties are expected to serve many important functions, including citizen mobilisation, interest aggregation, public policy formulation, leadership recruitment and government organisation,” he said.
Dogara maintained that the apparent weaknesses of political parties in Nigeria underlined the need for reform and professionalization, saying “by professionalization, we mean an institutional process by which professionals become more central to the running of our parties.
“Currently, our parties in Nigeria could do with better professional organisation of their operations,” he said.