Former secretary to the government of the federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, says the lack of internal democracy in political parties has become a persistent threat to Nigeria’s democracy.
Mr Anyim said this at the 2022 Annual Political Parties Summit organised by Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) on Wednesday in Abuja.
Mr Anyim stated that ex-resident electoral commissioner for Akwa Ibom Mike Igini, on February 18, 2019, revealed that there were over 640 pre-election cases in courts emanating from the 2019 general elections as a result of internal party strife.
“The recent squabble over party primaries throughout the country clearly shows that not much has changed and that Nigeria’s political parties are not operating within norms of democratic principles,” stated the former senate president. “Various political parties have repeatedly failed to adopt and apply the provisions of their constitutions to all party members who are interested in running for office.”
He explained that “candidates are imposed on the party without an election and due process, while others are forced to join or cross carpet to other political parties in protestation of apparent lack of fair and equal opportunities in the conduct of party primaries.”
Mr Anyim cited the example of the crisis in PDP, pointing out that “the complaints of the G5 Governors of PDP is not that the party primary election was faulty but that the pre- and post-primary processes did not guarantee justice to them.”
Then, he noted that in the APC, its Christian caucus “are also aggrieved” because of perceived injustice following the presidential Muslim-Muslim ticket.
“Let me, therefore, say that any failure to democracy starts with the political parties,” he warned. “Processes dealing with modalities for choosing persons to run for or occupy government offices (i.e. primaries, selection, nomination, recommendation, etc.) must be totally reformed in such a way that it is open, inclusive, transparent and promotes justice, equity and fairness.”
He worried that while political parties seemed not to have improved their internal democracy, INEC had made much progress on electoral processes.
The former SGF said INEC’s introduction of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and Election Result Viewing Portal (IReV) had largely arrested most of the challenges that previously promoted electoral fraud during elections.
With the introduction and use of these two technologies, the recent elections in Ekiti and Osun states appear to meet an appreciable standard of credible, free and fair elections,” stated Mr Anyim. “Nigerians expect the same standard in the 2023 general elections.”