APC, PDP crises

The Nation

Smaller parties should rise to the occasion instead of being contented with crumbs from the big two

Democracy as a system of government operates with political parties that are expected to be run by elected or appointed party leaderships operating under specific constitutions. The political parties are often referred to as the vehicles through which interested politicians are put forward for elections and they are expected to run government at any of the tiers of government they win, as well as influence public policy.

It is the role of political parties to try to convince the people to vote them into power at any level and they are in turn expected to be held accountable by the people. As a vehicle through which members are elected, it is the duty of the leadership to coordinate activities that lead to success at elections and to ensure that the members so elected comply with the party manifesto. It is the duty of the political parties that win elections at any level to ensure that the rules of engagement in a democracy are followed strictly as a means of winning future elections.

In Nigeria, the two biggest political parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC) which presently controls the party at the centre and also has more states in the country, and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that was in the centre and also controlled a substantial number of the states for 16 years but lost power in 2015, are presently crises-ridden.

It is noteworthy that the difference between the two parties seems to be that between six and half a dozen. There seems to be no sound ideologies that differentiate one from the other. It is no wonder then that members of both parties constantly move from one party to the other in what some political analysts prefer to term ‘political osmosis’.

Recently however, the two parties have been hit by seemingly intractable crises in ways that have left many wondering why this is happening to both a ruling party and the major opposition. The leadership of both parties seems to be overwhelmed by these lingering crises that many are wondering what next for the people and democracy? We expect the party leadership to understand the role of political parties in a democracy and insist on following the rule of law as well as check the overwhelming abuse of power by those using state resources to upturn the system. Ego battle has no place in a viable democracy.

The leadership of both parties must realise that if their internal crises persist, there might be no elections as they may not be in position to effectively conduct both primary and general elections. Those with financial muscle must not take advantage of the political parties. Taking advantage of financial muscle by those in leadership is akin to introducing tyranny into the democratic process.

On the other hand, the smaller political parties must sit up and stop being lethargic about standing up to compete in the political space. It is not enough to just get the political party registered just to sit back and wait for crumbs from the mega parties. It has even been observed that some of them often collude with the highest bidder of the bigger parties to throw political spanners in the works after every election, with frivolous litigations.

The inaction of the smaller parties in standing up to be counted in the political space must worry the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). There must be sanctions which could result in de-registration because, if the smaller parties are not ready to compete, then they are betraying the people by playing either the ostrich or the vulture.

Both the mega parties and the…

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