Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has accused the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and other political parties of building democracy on a substructure of dictatorship and intolerance.
Atiku who was vice president on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) but presently a leader in APC, appears to always be on a different page with his party, warranting speculations he may soon dump the party to further his widely believed political aspiration of becoming president.
Only recently, his Adamawa State chapter of the PDP, vowed it will never rest from wooing the former presidential aspirant and candidate, who it said is being underutilized by APC, from returning to his former party.
According to Atiku, there is a total lack of internal democracy among the nation’s political parties especially the APC and PDP.
He lamented a situation where the ruling APC, PDP, and other political parties in the nation have over the years refused to hold meetings of their important organs as well as those meant for the selection of the leadership of the parties.
Atiku made these observations when he spoke at the 2nd annual conference of the Inter – party Advisory Council, with the theme, “Inter Party Democracy: A Recipe for Sustainable Democracy in Nigeria”, in Abuja on Tuesday.
“In my view, there is a close relationship between democracy within political parties and democracy within the nation. Put simply, you cannot give what you don’t have. You cannot build democracy on a substructure of dictatorship and intolerance. A political party that constricts the freedom of its members cannot really offer freedom to the citizens of the nation. Democracy is not just an idea; it is a cultural practice.
“For a number of years now, we have had political parties, even governing ones, which hardly hold meetings of their important organs, including those meant for the democratic selection of their leadership, or even constitute institutions prescribed in their constitution.
“In the absence of those meetings and elections, their existing leadership, often under the direction of the executive at the state or federal level, fills the void. That’s not party building but party bullying. And it’s certainly not a way to democratise parties and aggregate their members’ opinions, interests and aspirations.
“This means that efforts to deepen Nigeria’s democracy must include efforts at democratising our political parties. The institutionalisation of democracy in our internal party processes will help us deepen democracy in Nigeria. Leaders are more likely to tolerate opposition from citizens and other parties if they tolerate it within their own party,” Atiku said.
The former vice president further blamed the absence of internal democracy in political parties for being responsible for clashes between parties and their elected representatives as well as the legislature and the executive.