Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said there is an urgent need for Nigerian politicians to build strong political parties, in order to consolidate the gains of the country’s young democracy.
Osinbajo said for now, Nigeria’s political parties are weak, and this is responsible for the rush by politicians to defect from parties that lose elections to the ruling parties.
The Vice President, who bared his mind on the state of parties in the country at an event organized by the National Institute for Agency and Strategic Studies in Abuja, blames the weak party structure for the ongoing cold war between the Presidency and the National Assembly.
Where parties are strong and understands their mission, Osinbajo says they will promote their ideologies and make elected officials on their platform to subscribe to them.
For instance, the Vice President recalled that All Progressives Congress (APC) during the 2015 polls, promised the electorate to fight corruption, diversify the economy, provide security and assist the poor.
Now in power, Osinbajo said it is worrisome that APC members in the National Assembly will be erecting the roadblocks to dismantle the implementation of the policies and programmes to actualise the campaign promises.
Osinbajo stressed further that the parties that operated in the First and Second Republics were very strong and their members were committed to their ideals and abided by them, noting that the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN) subscribed to a particular set of ideals, “same applied to the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) and Great Nigeria Peoples Party (GNPP)”.
“It does appear that these days we just look for a party or a medium convenient for us for winning elections and realising our ambitions. The moment we do that, we begin to plot some other things looking forward to another election and looking forward to another medium that will enable us win the next election. By doing this, we are not building any party.
“My submission is that all of us must resolve here today and see how we can begin to build very strong parties. Today, we cannot talk of strong parties in Nigeria.
“The PDP is on death row, the APC is gasping for breath. Therefore, it is very important that in building our party we must also look out for leaders that can work assiduously to mobilise people, leaders with conviction, leaders who are independent, leaders who are courageous, leaders who have capacity, and leaders who are disciplinarians.
“If we have these leaders and we appoint them to lead our parties both at the national level and at local levels, we can start talking of political parties that will deliver the dividends of democracy to the people,” he said.