Abuja – The Nigerian Political Science Association (NPSA) has called for re-examination of the idea of making public office holders responsible for the financing of political parties.
The President of the Association, Prof. Shuaibu Ibrahim, made the call at a roundtable of political parties organised by the Association in collaboration with
The Electoral Institute (TEI) on Tuesday in Abuja.
Ibrahim said there was need to return to the era where the generality of members contributed money and other resources to run the parties.
He added that “if the parties can revive this mode of raising money to finance their activities, the dangerous trend of having to bribe their members to attend their functions will stop.
“This will also raise the level of political participation in the country.
“The laws of the political parties are as good as the papers on which they are written on party managers; officials need to respect the various laws of their parties to give equal opportunity to all members,’’ he said
Ibrahim also stressed the need for development partners and the political parties to properly take steps to address capacity deficit in the running of political parties.
He said “in addition to INEC, parties must work out plans to reduce the incidence of excessive use of money in the electoral process.
“Unless all the stakeholders in the electoral system brace up to tame the monster of money politics, our election results will always show a wide gap between people’s expectations and the electoral outcomes that are triggering electoral violence.’’
The president of the association also expressed fear that the Nigerian nation was gradually becoming anti-intellectual in its approach to the governing process in the country.
He said “only a few of our politicians have developed deep interest in scholarship. This is evident in the low ranking of our universities.
“The unfortunate situation cannot be divorced from the poor funding of our educational institutions, especially the universities.
“More fundamentally, our association, in the last few decades, has literally abandoned the public space to the politicians who, as events have revealed, are not capable of accelerating the level of development in the country.
According to Ibrahim, this is partly because of the narrowing perception of politics and the general obsession with primitive accumulation.
“Our politicians often see politics as an end in itself and not the means to an end which is the hallmark of political process,’’ he said.
Ibrahim expressed optimism that if political parties got their acts together and function properly as the critical rib of democracy, most of the problems confronting Nigeria would be drastically reduced.
“Challenges such as the Boko Haram menace, corruption, poor state of the economy, youth unemployment and a host of other problems would have been ameliorated if our parties had noted and appreciated their indispensable roles in the polity.’’
He said that political parties were supposed to be democratic vehicles toward instilling values, especially among members, by resorting to democratic principles in governing their own affairs.
According to Ibrahim, more needs to be done to make political parties reconcile themselves with the aspirations of Nigerians for rapid development of the country.