From Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
A frontline All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship aspirant in Anambra State, Sir Azuka Okwuosa, has said that internal democracy, which has eluded Nigerian political parties, has taken root in the APC.
Okwuosa, who was the Deputy Director of Anambra APC Governorship Campaign in 2017, commended the party’s Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) led by Governor Mai Mala Buni, for the courage to undertake the membership revalidation exercise.
Speaking to reporters shortly after regularising his membership at his ward in Ekwusigo Local Government Area, the governorship aspirant expressed delight that at the end of the exercise APC would truly belong to the people.
Tracing the search for progressive politics to the first republic, Okwuosa noted that the challenges facing Nigerian democracy were made worse by the way political parties were run, noting that election rigging became the order of the day as the governing National Party of Nigeria (NPN) operated with political impunity.
‘It is the duty of the ruling party to show the path in a democracy. When NPN rigged out Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), Nigeria Peoples Party (NPP) and People’s Redemption Party (PRP), politicians of that era began to work out ways to rig and control the party machinery,’ Okwuosa stated.
‘As someone who has been involved in political party organization, I know that imposition that begets rigging and creates all electoral hazards for the electoral umpire. You can only understand the import of what APC is doing if you look back at our party system in the past 21 years. I commend Governor Buni and his coleagues in the interim management committee.’
On the forthcoming November 6 Anambra governorship election, Okwuosa, who was a former Works Commissioner, said the party’s membership revalidation exercise aligns with plans by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to adopt electronic voting in the election.
‘In a way you could say that APC is equipping its members for electronic voting, because what this means is that by updating the membership register, the party is rekindling public confidence and ownership of the democratic processes.
‘Although the party has not decided whether the governorship primary would be by direct or indirect method, but whichever way it goes, the choice of the people would reign supreme. Whoever is not comfortable with the membership registration should see the long-term benefits to internal party democracy.’
Okwuosa expressed hope that, being a product of the party, he stands a very good chance of picking the party ticket for the election.
The governorship aspirant said President Muhammadu Buhari has made things easy for the APC in South-East, particularly in Anambra State, by embarking on a long list of infrastructure projects, pointing to the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway, Enugu-Port Harcourt Road, the second Niger Bridge and the standardisation of the runway at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.