Disturbed by the increasing rate of internal crisis in political parties in the country, the Political Parties Leadership and Policy Development Centre of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, NIPSS, Kuru yesterday organised a two-day retreat titled “Strengthening Internal Party Democracy in Nigeria: Policy Options 1” to sensitized politicians on the need to eschew intra-party squabbles which could threaten democratic processes in the country. Speaking at the opening ceremony of the event held at the Institute, the Acting Director-General of the Institute, Mr. Jonathan Juma, lamented lack of internal
democracy and the incessant frictions seen within the political parties saying such have the capability of fueling political violence and derailing democracy. He urged the participants drawn from political parties in the country to be frank in their discussions, look inward, identify their internal problems and tackle them so as to move the system forward. According to him, “The problem PDP faced is resurfacing in APC and this can weaken internal party strength. There is need to strengthen internal democracy within the political parties and this retreat offers us the opportunity to articulate various policyoptions that will guide us in our collective responsibility of strengthening internal democracy within the politicalparties. “The theme of the retreat is considered very important first, political parties have goals and objectives which include the legitimate acquisition and control of government and in their quest to achieve these goals, political parties play the mobilization role of public education, recruitment and the development and formulation of competing policy proposals that provide the electorate with multiple political choices. “Political parties bridge the gap between the electorate and the electoral process and serve as a link between the State and the people. If these roles must be beneficial to the people in the democratic process, they must be played within the dictates and ambience of the principles of internal party democracy.” Also speaking at the occasion, the Country Director, International Republican Institute, Mr. Sentell Barnes, represented by Mr. Sunday Alao, noted that the relevance of political parties to the functioning of democratic system is not in doubt but “expanding political space and intensity of electoral
competition has not coincided with improvement in the internal processes of political parties and this has contributed to the weakening of party structures and reduced public perception about the ability of political parties to represent their interest and create stability inpolity.” He faulted the fact the political parties in the country are elitists in nature and devoid of functional linkages with citizens stressing, “the report of our 2015 post- election political party assessment indicate while leading parties are besieged with contending interests that hinder effective management, smaller parties lack rudimentary organizational structures needed for effective functioning” and called for a change ahead of the 2019 elections.

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