Despite Abundant Laws, Internal Democracy Lacking In Parties – NIPSS DG
The Director General of the nation’s major policy institute, theNational Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Jonathan Juma has said that despite abundant laws guiding the nation’s electoral process, there is still glaring lack of internal democracy with the political parties in the country. Juma who spoke at the opening of a two day training for legal officers of political parties on strategies to improve compliance with extant laws on inclusivity said lack of internal democracy within the parties is manifest in the exclusion of key segment of the society such as women, youth and people living with disability in political participation. He said this fact was clearly established in the capacity needs assessment of political parties in Nigeria conducted by the Democratic Governance for Development project in 2013. According to him, Nigeria is not short of electoral law and policies which seek to promote inclusivity and enhancement of the fundamental principles of political parties as shown in the the 1999 constitution as amended and the 2010 Electoral Act and INEC gender policy. Juma said the Political Parties Leadership and Policy Development Centre secured a grant from the European Union Delegation in Nigeria and West Africa to implement the support to political parties project under the European Union Support for Demo ratio Governance in Nigeria initiative. He said that the project is aimed at strengthening the capacity of political parties in Nigeria and to promote pluralism, inclusiveness, tolerance, internal democracy and equal opportunity in the political parties and the political party system. According to him, the project is intended to make political parties in Nigeria adhere to their rules and procedures, improve internal democracy within the political parties, ensure that political parties demonstrate increased compliance with the extant laws on party funding and campaign financing, strengthen inter party coordination and engagement and strengthen political parties’ processes and procedures on inclusivity. He said further that as key institutions of democracy, political parties mobilize citizens and work to guarantee the representation of the public on inclusive basis, adding that political party manifestos, policies and programmes serve to provide platforms for inclusive representation of various categories of their ,embers, especially for vulnerable groups. He said the training seeks to address identified gaps in the operations and management of political parties in Nigeria and specifically designed for legal officers of the political parties with the expectations that the end, they would have been better equipped to make their parties operate strictly in accordance with laid down rules and procedures.