From Paul Orude, Bauchi
As most political parties in Nigeria continue to experience internal crises, Professor Mansur Usman Malumfashi has advocated for promotion of internal democracy within parties in order to strengthen the country’s nascent democracy.
Malumfashi, of the Faculty of Education Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), Bauchi, gave the advice during an interaction with journalists at his residence in Bauchi.
‘If you want to entrench democracy the starting point is to allow primary elections within the party and that is what we call internal democracy,’ Malumfashi, who is the Sarkin Malaman Galadiman Katsina, stated
‘But more often than not, you will find many politicians not allowing the primary elections to take place; instead they appoint their own candidate. So the issue of godfatherism in politics is there and that is the beginning of the problem’
The University Don expressed concern that during primaries of political parties in some states the politicians, instead of allowing the internal democracy to flourish, normally appoint their own candidates by hook or by crook and eventually lose the state because of that single action.
‘One of the dividends of democracy is to allow people to air their views, to allow people elect people of their choice. If you do that, you are allowing the political culture to flourish, and entrenching liberal democracy,’ he stated.
‘But where you impose a candidate and you ask party faithful to elect him that is where the problem comes in.
‘And on the other side, unfortunately, our people just because of a packet of spaghetti, a packet of salt or 500 naira wouldn’t mind sacrificing their mandate,’ he said.
‘If you do that the end of it all, you will never see the politician until after four years, so on this also our citizens need sound political education because people are just giving out their mandate for just a piece of cloth,’ he noted
‘So this is the problem. Once you sell your mandate, you don’t expect the politician to be accountable to you any longer.
‘So this is the repercussions, this is the consequences of what is happening between the politicians and the electorate.
‘You elect a politician in the primaries because he has paid you and thereafter, when he is declared winner, you will not see him again until four years. Some don’t even visit their constituencies some can’t even visit their constituencies because they know what they have done’