According to Wikipedia, a political party is a group of people who come together to contest elections and hold power in the government. The party agrees on some proposed policies and programmes, with a view to promoting the collective good or furthering their supporters’ interests.
Here in Nigeria, the reverse is the case as what we have are mere associations that are more poorly organised than Okada riders association (no pun intended).
The irrelevance of the so-called political parties was once described by renowned playwright, Professor Akinwunmi Ishola. In one of his movies, he said, “the only time you know political parties are when they throw parties“.
That submission by Prof. Ishola is a sad reality of what we have in our society.
In the past, Nigerians witnessed what real political parties that are: the UPN and the NPN.
These two political parties had manifestos they implemented across their states and region of control.
The UPN under the leadership of Chief Obafemi Awolowo was renowned for the implementation of free and compulsory education in the West which was later replicated by the NPN and other political parties.
Membership of these parties is based on ideologies and beliefs. Members of the party irrespective of their tribe and religion work in tandem with established rules governing the party and stick to it.
The parties were always on the lookout for what the other party is doing right that can be replicated by them and this further engendered growth and development in the country.
All these gains were finally reversed with the coming of democracy in the year 1999. All in a bid to have access to power, parties were formed with little or no ideology. The reigning ideology was just to win elections and that ends it.
To make matters worse, there was a sudden proliferation of political associations which they referred to as parties. These parties were financed by the party in power under the guise of opposition. Most don’t have a registered office nor a website and today they are practically dead with the exit of PDP from the centre.
The bad precedence set by PDP was also embraced by the new political association in the country the APC. The APC as a party is another old wine in new wineskin as a chunk of its members are aggrieved members of PDP and those looking for a greener pasture politically. Apart from winning elections, there is no known difference from their PDP peers.
They both owe salaries, mismanage bailout funds and embark on wasteful spendings, as seen in the recent decision of the Ondo government to spend millions of taxpayers money on twenty-six individuals (less than 0.1% of the state population). This same wasteful spending is happening in other APC states like Sokoto, Zamfara among others.
The time has come for Nigeria to evolve from having political associations to political parties where ideologies will be in tandem with the yearnings of the masses.