Internal democracy in political parties, institutions for checkmate

LET me congratulate Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo on reaching the prescribed age of 70 in scripture, and trust, because I know he is strong, that 80 and more is his portion. The angle I have been assigned to speak to on this critical subject, the place of institutions and regulators in assuring internal democracy in the political parties, set me out on the track to a great debate about what is the most responsible for human progress.

To many, it is institutions. To others, it is culture. How have institutions of restraint failed us such that internal democracy has been lost in a way that has reduced our democracy to a farce of sorts and allowed our country to become the laughing stock of the world? That is, besides the many directly related failures of governing that have made us the poverty capital of the world, and Abuja, a reality show attracting more viewership than Big Brother Naija.

First, let me commend Dr. Okwi Nwodo for recognising that the absence of internal democracy in the political parties, is the reason for the deep leadership crisis that currently torments wellbeing in Nigeria. A few days ago Dr. Nwodo and I both featured in a Diaspora webinar organised by NIDO – Americas and he spoke quite eloquently on the subject of internal democracy in political parties. That it is the theme for this webinar to mark his 70th speaks much to a sense of commitment.

Roll out the drums, Okwesilieze is 70 Even though I was assigned the sub-theme of institutions and regulatory oversight on internal democracy a few hours ago, yesternight, I am very pleased to speak from that angle, especially as I have written several books on the subject of institutions and economic performance in particular, and institutions and human progress generally, and therefore have been passionate about the subject for more than 30 years. I would however, like to begin the conversation on the big question of which matters more: Institution or Culture.

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