Layi Olanrewaju, Ilorin
An Ilorin-based legal practitioner, Mallam Yusuf Ola-Olu Ali, has said the “Government funding of political parties in Nigeria is antithetical to democratic principles.”
In his lecture at the 2020 Press Week of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Kwara state council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), entitled, Effectiveness of Party Supremacy in Strengthening Democratic Principles and Promoting National Development, in Ilorin on Wednesday, Mallam Yusuf Olaolu Ali SAN, said that political parties should not have owners.
The senior advocate, who said that the democratic ethos started to wane when the regime of Ibrahim Babangida funded two political parties, namely, SDP and NRC, with programmes and manifestoes written by the military authority.
He thus said that the federal government should discontinue the arrangements to encourage good governance.
“Political parties should not have owners. They should be mass organizations that give high and low, the rich and the poor the same opportunities. Ownership of political parties by individuals is directly antithetical to the democratic principle. If a political party will be all-inclusive, it is important that it should be owned by a wide range of individuals drawn from all segments of the society”, he said.
Mallam Ali said there is a lack of internal democracy in the nation’s political parties, adding that the situation has created a serious intraparty conflict which he said could likely threaten regime stability and good governance.
“This has played out several times in Nigerian politics, as soon as the disputes arise within the party, the effect is usually felt in the quality of governance,” he said.
The legal icon, who described the present proliferation of political parties in the country as a mockery and should be eradicated, said that Nigeria does not need more than four political parties.
“As much as politics should be all-inclusive, that does not mean every family should set up a political party. At present, Nigeria has well over 50 registered political parties. Some of these parties often have nothing on the ground in terms of membership, influence or geographical spread, and may not even have more than a couple of offices in a few cities. As a matter of fact, the proliferation of parties is usually used as a ploy by politicians to plunge the electorate into confusion as well, pose administrative hurdles for the electoral umpire during national elections. To make matters worse, they do not get a single vote during elections. INEC should have them deregister political parties that do not garner a certain percentage of votes cast in a general election, maybe five per cent,” he said.