By Umar Muhammad Puma
Hon. Yakubu Dogara, Speaker, House of Representatives, has said that any political party that fails to embrace and implement reforms to institute internal democracy risks extinction.
He said, in an attempt to either capture or hold on to power, some political parties have sometimes embellished their manifestoes with unrealistic promises which according to him, “is a political malpractice for an elected government to govern without reference to the manifesto that was placed before the voters which essentially formed the basis of their election.”
Delivering remarks at a retreat on dynamics of managing political parties organised by the National Institute for Policy & Strategic Studies in Abuja Monday, Hon. Dogara argued that it amounts to political malpractice for political parties to rule without manifesto at any level.
The Speaker stated that for political parties to effectively play central role in democratic representation, they must be managed and operated in such a manner as to establish trust among the electorate.
Regrettably, in Africa, and Nigeria in particular, according to him, political parties are weak, lacking not only a stable and functioning party apparatus, but also a clear programmatic appeal.
“They also suffer from low organizational capacity and a lack of internal democracy. Such weak political parties cannot support democracy as parties are expected to serve many important functions, including citizen mobilization, interest aggregation, public policy formulation, leadership recruitment, and government organization.”
Dogara maintained that the apparent weaknesses of political parties in Nigeria underline the need for reform and professionalization saying, “By professionalization we mean ‘an institutional process by which professionals become more central to the running of our parties.’ Currently our parties in Nigeria could do with better professional organization of their operations.”