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NIGERIA: Atiku hails formation of APC

Atiku AbubakarFORMER Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, Wednesday,threw his weight behind the formation of All Progressives Congress, APC, saying it would form a strong and principled political opposition in the country.

This came as he advocated the banning of the President and Governors from using state resources to campaign for elections.

The former Vice-President was at a lecture organised by the Department of Political Science, University of Ibadan to mark its 50th anniversary.
Atiku
While throwing his weight behind a two-party system, he said: “I am pleased that progress is being made in that regard with the recent emergence of the All Progressives Congress, APC. It is also the only guarantee of a viable alternative to the ruling party, which is critical for keeping the ruling party from taking the electorate for granted.”

While calling for a ban for the use of state funds by the President and governors for election, he said: “Where such use is unavoidable such as the use by the President of the Presidential aircraft, the cost must be borne by the incumbent’s party. This is how it is done in real democracies.”

Atiku also decried alleged rise of dictatorship of the executive and godfatherism in the nation’s polity.

He lamented the absence of internal democracy which he said was badly managed by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and other political parties and canvassed for genuine electoral reform that would engender internal democracy in the country.

The former Vice President contended that “the reforms will not only seek to bring about direct changes in the way parties conduct their affairs, but change the electoral system in a manner that will leave the political parties little choice but to promote internal democracy as a survival strategy.”

He said there should be effective monitoring of parties to ensure conformity with electoral laws, noting that this “might include time-bound intrusive legislative changes empowering the INEC to intrusively monitor parties for the next 15 or 20 years to ensure that they obey the laws of the land, including their own constitutions and guidelines.”

Delivering a lecture entitled, “Thoughts on Internal Democracy in Nigerian Political Parties: Challenges and Strategies”, he said, unless a political party was democratic, it would be impossible for it “to protect the rights and privileges of the minority of its members whose views at any point in time could not prevail.”

Listing factors militating against genuine democracy, he believed adoption of consensus candidate, imposition of candidate in place of elections, structure of party ownership and funding of parties by godfathers were inimical to the growth of internal democracy.
To him, it would have been more appropriate if the appointment of Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and its Commissioners were not left in the hands of the president.

For an enviable and enduring democratic culture, the ex-VP argued that barring anyone whose electoral victory was being challenged in court from being sworn in should be encouraged.

In his welcome address, Professor Osisioma Nwolise, Head Department of Political science called for urgent Political reforms in Nigeria Political Parties.

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