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91 political parties of no value to Nigerians, says NILDS DG

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Acting Director, National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), Prof. Edoba Omorege (left); Director General, NILDS, Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman and Postgraduate School Coordinator, Dr Asimiyu Abiola, during a press conference at the National Assembly…yesterday PHOTO: LUCY LADIDI ATEKO<br />

The Director-General, National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman yesterday said that 91 registered political parties were too unwieldy for the country.

Speaking ahead of the UNIBEN/NILDS 3rd Convocation Ceremony at the National Assembly Complex, he described most of the parties as ‘jankara’ political organisations that have not added any value to democracy.

Sulaiman, who served as National Planning Minister when former President Goodluck Jonathan was at the helm, argued that Nigeria requires just three functional political parties to deepen democratic culture among the citizenry. He threw his weight behind Bicameral legislature while urging the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to come up with an amendment to the Electoral Act to achieve the goal.

According to him: “Some political parties today don’t even have offices in various states across the country, but then, they occupy space in the ballot paper, thereby causing confusion. When you talk about the inconclusive election, over-voting, some Nigerians in the rural areas could not differentiate between certain symbols because we have a ballot paper that is as long as one kilometer.

“So, the earlier we have a ‘guided democracy’ the better for us. INEC should come up with… maybe, that will require another amendment in the Electoral Act, but they must initiate that move. I remember the late Gani Fawehinmi was the one that advocated for it. He spoke for it, but one of the things we observed in Nigeria is that it is not only power that is being abused, at times, freedom is being abused.

“Our people take freedom for granted, we are abusing the freedom and if care is not taken in the next two or three years, we would have up to 200 political parties. As an institute, we are going to look into it, we are going to come up with a study on it that the earlier we have a limited number of political parties the better for us.”

On whether there is the need for the bicameral legislature in the country, he said: “Every society comes up with a system that fits into his political environment. Having a bi-cameral legislature, to my mind, is reflective of the federal character of the Nigerian state. The more platforms whereby people can debate the issue, express their feelings, the better for us.

“The issue is still ongoing, as an institute, we don’t want to be seen to be prejudicial, we should allow the leadership to take the lead, at appropriate time, when our services are being required to make an input, to give an academic flesh to it,we shall do that.”

On the Convocation Ceremony billed to hold on Monday, he disclosed that a total of 65 students will be conferred with various degrees broken down to 28 Master’s in Legislative Studies, 15 Master’s in Legislative Drafting and 22 Master’s in Parliamentary Administration.


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