NILDS DG backs Senate on delisting of political parties

Director General of National Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), Professor Abubakar Suleiman has backed the agitation for deleting of most of the existing political parties in the country.

He made the call on Friday at a pre- convocation briefing of the NILDS.

Tribune online checks revealed that 91 political parties were accorded recognition by the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) ahead of the last general elections while 76 fielded candidates for elective positions.

At a session between the Senate Committee on INEC and the Commission, penultimate week, former Kano state governor and chairman of the Committee, Senator Kabiru Gaya and his colleague, Adamu Aliero, revealed that the Committee would push for the amendment of the Electoral Act to reduce the number of existing parties to five.

Professor Suleiman who called for “guided democracy” claimed that the electorate does not need more than three.

He said: “Most of the political parties that we have, I stand to be corrected are Jankara (mushroom) political organisations and they are adding no value to democracy. I want to subscribe therefore that for us to have a well deepened political culture, the earlier we take recourse to 3 political parties the better.

“Some political parties today do not have offices at the various state levels but yet they occupy space on the ballot papers thereby causing confusion. When you talk about inconclusive elections, over-voting.

“Some Nigerians in the rural areas find it difficult to differentiate between symbols because we have a ballot paper that is unnecessarily lengthier than 1kilometre.

“So the earlier we have guided democracy with respect apologies to President Ibrahim Babangida the better for all of us. INEC should come out by initiating a bill for an amendment of the electoral act.

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The former Minister of National Planning said multi-party democracy was being abused by mushroom associations which have since graduated to political parties.

“One of the things we observed in Nigeria is it is not only power that is being abused at times freedom is also abused.

Our people take freedom for granted, they are abusing the freedom and if care is not taken in the next two or three years we would have 200 political parties.

“We submitted as an Institute that we are going to look into it and conduct a study on it that the earlier we have limited number of political the better for us.”

NILDS DG, however, rejected agitation for unicameral legislature being canvases in certain quarters to save cost.

“On the issue of Bicameralism, every society comes up with a system that fits into its own political environment. Having Bicameral legislature to my mind is the result of the federal character of the Nigerian State. The more medium whereby people can debate issues, 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. It is left for the leadership to take the lead, when it comes for us to make our impute we shall do that.

“It is an ongoing debate at an appropriate time when our service is being required we shall offer.”

On next week convocation ceremony of the Institute, Professor Suleiman disclosed that a total number of 271 students have so far enrolled for various programmes during the five academic sessions since inception.

According to him, a total of 79 students graduated from the 2015/16 and 2016/17; while 77 students enrolled in 2018/2019 alone.

He said the NILDS would not relent in educating Nigerians on their civic rights.

“We gave a commitment that we should not wait till election before Nigerians are being sensitized on their rights, responsibility, during election where other agencies have proved by not having a medium through which Nigerians are being educated on elections, democracy our institute is envisioning a situation whereby by next year we shall have a democracy radio through which we can reach out to Nigerian electorate and sensitize the people on the workings of the Legislature and mobilize Nigerians on democratic ethos.

“If all these are within our vision which is encapsulated in the budget proposal that should give you what to expect in the budget.

“The institute is not just meant for those at the centre but it will percolate down to the State level. How do we put our services at the mercy of State legislators the councillors, chairmen at the Local Government levels to be involved in what we do and most importantly how do we get ourselves endeared to stakeholders in the West African sub-region and in the continent. “These have remained our mission which has been accepted by the leadership of the National Assembly.”