Victoria Manya, YIAGA AFRICA's Human Resource Manager

Nigerian Political Parties: a democratic Thalidomide- Victoria Manya

In the time of nationalist like Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Sir Ahmadu Bello and Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, there was some level of guarantee that in the political decision-making processes, a large percentage of the country characterized by various ethnic groups were put into consideration and as such the belief in one Nigeria grew like wild fire. With this belief, the struggle for independence garnered nationwide support irrespective of religious and political lines. After this time however, the one Nigeria Ideology began to regress and then came the transition (supposed democratization period as the political scientist choose to call it). This process ushered in the political party system while democracy and party politics continued what has now become a seemingly inseparable or Siamese relationship. This has however streamlined the possibility of running independently as the constitution and its various amendments have seen to it that political parties remain the sole platform under which persons vying for political positions can run.

Democracy as a system of government in Nigeria has been shaped by a plethora of political parties, either based on the party ideology or the opinions of the political “god fathers” that stand as the backbones of these parties. To this end however, there has been some level  of political organization in terms of pulling together of candidates with like minds (bonding agent function), organizing uniform political campaigns and rallies, working together as a strong unit to perform the watch-dog duties expected of political parties, however insignificant I must add. These advantages do not in any way connote an absolute political perfection, it rather gives room for more political questions than answers.

In analyzing the never ending political questions stimulated by party politics, we must mention the recent clamour for political independence viz independent candidacy and how it was shut down by the national and state houses of assembly as though it never existed and the manner in which the entire country accepted its moribund fate as if to say it was the right thing to do. In the true sense of the meaning of the word, “democracy” the interpretation given to the phrase “ through political representatives” has been rigidly interpreted by political elites and propagators of the political party system to mean that representatives must contest under the platform of political parties and this has brought upon us apolitical avalanche that guarantees the grip and continuous existence and renewing relevance of political king makers. It has ushered in an era where in the following disadvantages lay thriving; uneven representation of some groups across ethnic and religious lines, the termination of the political dreams of young aspirants with ideas that are capable of informing the “change” we currently seek, unjust substitution of young candidates with “the anointed elderly youths” and an unfair tide of a fast growing tsunami of the dreaded “one party system”. Now political parties have contributed the largest quota in the politically prophesied failing status of our democratic state by sealing the fate of the young but” imaginary” leaders of tomorrow,while constantly churning out unseasoned representatives .

The unfortunate implications of the above analysis is that we strongly believe in the salvation brought by political parties and this presents a fatal situation were political parties act as the Alpha and Omega of the future of Nigeria and indulge in the famous game of thrones as we see currently playing out. Nigerians believe what we have been fed by politicians that we cannot have a revolution that will work for us and for our future and so we suffer and smile as these are the twin companions we have come to rely on for succor.

In conclusion, I am positive that the majority of those who come across this article are familiar with the drug ‘thalidomide” an immuno-modulatory drug that was used in the 1950’s to treat morning sickness and as a mild sleeping pill safe even for pregnant women. However it caused thousands of babies worldwide to be born with malformed limbs. The effect of this drug as much as it has been considered  as one of the darkest episodes in pharmaceutical research history is currently used as a treatment for certain cancers and leprosy even in pregnant women but with the attendant fate of birthing a malformed baby. However, with current studies and better understanding of the mechanisms of the drug, important and life changing discoveries are being made on the molecular targets of the drug and so safer drugs may be designed from it.

Moving away from pharmacology, it is apposite to re-open the seemingly closed pages of the proposal to introduce independent candidacies with positive limitations as we must for the benefit of our democracy in Nigeria. I do not by this article suggest the introduction of another limited political feature but an improved party system and an avenue to accommodate independent candidates that meet a certain requirement. 

Victoria is the  Human Resource Manager of YIAGA AFRICA and  passionate about Sustainable democracy

Email: [email protected]

Twitter : @missgidas_

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