MUYIWA OYINLOLA in this piece writes that out the five political parties registered last June, two have remained vibrant and may reap from the ongoing defections from the two main parties, APC and PDP, as the election year approaches.
Another date was marked in the nation’s political calendar on June 7, 2017. That was the day the electoral body, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), registered five more political parties.
They included: Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance (APDA), All Democratic Peoples Movement (ADPM), New Generations Party of Nigeria (NGP), Young Progressive Party (YPP), and Action Democratic Party (ADP).
The five parties were from of the 95 associations that had applied to the Commission for registration as political parties. Two of the associations,it was gathered, had voluntarily withdrawn their applications.
The Commission, while confirming the erstwhile political associations as political parties said they metamorphosed to the status of political parties having fulfilled the constitutional requirements for party registration.
Recall that the Commission also registered 21 more political parties last month, bringing the numbers of parties in the country to 67.
But while both APDA and ADP have remained active and are fast becoming familiar names in the political circle, nothing is being heard of the remaining three.
In the last six months of their registration, political watchers observed that both parties in terms of activities, seriousness and vibrancy have become forces to be reckoned with and are being seen as parties going somewhere.
Ironically however, many political parties that were registered before them are queuing behind them. This has no doubt silenced critics who were against the registration of these two new parties. The position of the antagonists was that there were already about 40 political parties, even as they correctly said many of them are mushroom parties and their certificate gathering dust wherever they are kept, due to inactivity.
But both APDA and ADP have been up and doing, and could be rated among the first seven perhaps only after the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Social Democratic Party (SDP), Labour Party (LP) and one or two others.
Since their registration, both have opened their secretariats in the FCT Abuja, and in many states capitals across the country. They have also both embarked on intensive and aggressive membership drive and they have been holding regular meetings, even at the NEC level.
Above all, they have both fielded candidates for many of the elections that have been held in several parts of the country since their registration. Interestingly, both of them fielded candidates for the November 18th, 2017 Anambra State governorship election.
Interestingly, one of them, APDA had a baptism of fire a few weeks after it received its registration certificate as it was almost consumed by an internal crisis. The mechanism it deployed and political experience brought to bare by its National Chairman, Mal. Mohammed Kabir Shitu, was what saved the day. The party survived an attempt to hijack it by money bags.
Speaking with LEADERSHIP on what the party has to offer Nigerians, Shitu informed that APDA as a social democratic party is irrevocably and irreversibly committed to curbing inequality, oppression of the underprivileged and poverty.
He added that the party will focus on entrenching universally accessible public services for the elderly, children and the physically challenged. That is not all, he added that considering the nation’s level of development, the party shall pursue a mixed economy that is private sector driven while ensuring that critical essential services would be operated and delivered by the public sector.
He also assured that an APDA leadership would recreate a Nigeria that guarantees all its citizens the right to pursue their aspirations and achieve their full potentials, stressing that the party stands for an inclusive Nigerian society based on principles of freedom, equality, solidarity, diversity and fairness.
He stressed that the party “shall initiate policies and programmes that will promote consumer rights, sustainable development and financial market reforms so as to create a stronger, more democratic nation and a better future for every Nigerian”.
“Our priority is to fight unemployment and ensure that our societies and markets become fairer. We are determined to restore hope and trust of Nigerians for and in the future of our country”.
The position of ADP on the essence of its formation is also similar. The party’s National Chairman, Engr. Yabagi Sani, told LEADERSHIP that the party is formed to build a better future for Nigeria.
According to him, the party, if voted to power, the party would make Nigeria rise again and live up to the true meaning of its creed. He is of the view that as the giant of Africa, Nigeria must move beyond the current political quagmire of today.
He disclosed that the agenda of the party is to reenergize the polity, rekindle hope for economic prosperity and trust in a peaceful, prosperous and strong nation.
Both parties, where many others are kept mute, have been making their stands known on national issues, playing the role of opposition and on many occasions presenting themselves as better alternatives to the government in power.
For instance, on the current fuel scarcity, ADP in a statement issued by its Director, Media and Publicity, Kayode Jacobs, did not only condemn the hardship it has brought upon the masses but advised the ruling party to either find lasting solutions to it or bury its head in shame.
Sani, in the statement noted that one of the major reasons Nigerians trusted their destinies in the hands of President Buhari was the boast on having solutions to rampant fuel crises and subsidy regime “but only two years after the queues are back and government remains helpless with evidence that nothing concrete had been done to permanently solve the problem”.
He submitted that it is a shame that this government is still faced with the option of having to approve increment in pump price or pay subsidy.
“I think the government should be responsible enough to admit its failures and frustrations instead of giving excuses on the past and pointing fingers at the opposition, he argued.
It added that ADP indeed sympathizes with Nigerians who had to go through untold hardship to rejoin their families at Christmas; he lamented, and said the party was aware many Nigerians may have to sell personal effects to return to work now or in January.
Recall that the party had in time past also condemned APC saying it lacks cohesion, discipline and has no programmes.
He said: “there is no leadership in this country, no leadership in the National Assembly, no leadership in the Executive, no leadership in the Judiciary, that is why nobody is held accountable for these crimes.”
“Therefore, Nigeria is in a state of anarchy, because nobody is in charge, but when ADP comes to power, by 2019, we will make all the leaders accountable to Nigerians, because we are coming with leadership, unity and pragmatism,” he said.
Going by the intensity and vibrancy with which these political parties are making themselves relevant, pundits are of the view that any of them that can up its game may reap bountifully from the ongoing defections of politicians from one party to the other, even as there are fears of possible implosion from any of the two controlling major parties.
The pre-election year syndrome of political alignment and re-alignment which has already begun as witnessed by the defection of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar from APC to PDP and a few other politicians from one party to the other will traditionally continue till the 2019 general elections are held.
One of the determinant factor of where a politician could move to in order to realise his dream is the vibrancy and acceptability of a political party, and this is what both APDA and ADP seem to be presenting to the political class.
Recall that the Commission also registered 21 more political parties last month, bringing the numbers of parties in the country to 67
Use pictures of (1.) Mohammed Shitu (2.) Yabagi Sani
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