From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has expressed concern over lack of internal democracy in political parties, describing it as the biggest challenge confronting Nigerian politics.
INEC’s Director of Election and Party Monitoring, Aminu Idris, made the disclosure on the sideline of a workshop organised by West Minster Foundation for Democracy in collaboration with the Commission in Abuja, yesterday.
He, however, admitted that there has been progress in the development of political parties since 1999, noting that godfatherism was no longer acceptable to the people.
“The biggest challenge facing INEC monitoring of political party is lack of internal democracy whereby parties don’t allow members to fully participate in the activities of political parties in the policy and election of candidates of the party. They have no input as to how the party is run. Lack of internal democracy is really one the biggest challenge facing INEC monitoring of political parties.
“In terms of sanctioning the parties, our role is to ensure that the parties are in compliance with their own constitution. We monitor their activities and ensure that such activities are in compliance with the provision of the party constitution and when we find fault, we often write letters, requesting that they comply. Sometimes their members equally petition the Commission and we will look at the illegal implications and write them letters. I also have to say that there is progress in our party development since 1999 till today. The dominance of one godfather is now a thing of the past,” he said.
National Chairman, Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Leonard Nzenwa, said the biggest takeaway from the conference was the idea that no political party chairman emerge as presidential candidate of its party.
“Some of the challenges we have in the past is that people see political parties as their property, their business and that has led to a situation where somebody who claims to be party chairman is holding the party’s ticket as presidential candidate.
“Such is completely abhorrent and should not be encouraged. We are going to ensure that no political party in this country will field the chairman as presidential candidate.One of the greatest challenge is to find a way to raise resources to undertake the enormous responsibility and that is why we are,” he said.