Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday, took a swipe at political parties in Nigeria, saying many have no manifestoes to operate with. He also charged Nigerians to hold political office holders accountable to their party manifestoes.
Speaking at a Roundtable Conference on Party Politics in Nigeria and Lobbying the Lobbyist and the Legislature, organised by the National Institute for Legislative Studies, NILS, in Abuja, Obasanjo said party manifestoes had suddenly become mere instruments for political campaign in Nigeria.
Obasanjo, who noted that these were normally thrown away by elected political leaders soon after they were elected, asked why political parties or elected officers should not be held accountable to their promises by the public.
He said: “I want to say that there are some areas where political parties need improvement. I am sure and I hope that the discussants and speakers would lay emphasis on these areas. One of them is the issue of manifestoes. What I have come to see and understand in Nigeria is that manifestoes are prepared for campaigns and after wards, they are thrown away.
“How then can we hold parties and their elected leaders to their promises and manifestoes? Or if they have no manifestoes, what do we hold them for?”
Discipline among political parties
Obasanjo stressed the need for discipline among political parties but warned that no human institution endured for long without discipline and urged politicians to acquire basic ingredients of party politics geared towards ensuring free, fair and transparent elections.
He said: “One point I would want to make is about service. We really see service in party politics. Senator David Mark has said that the only means of going into election in this country is through a political party.
“Political parties are vehicle through which one can participate in elections. What are the ingredients that must be there for political parties to participate the way they should and make elections what they should be— free, fair and transparent in such a way that the outcome would be fairly, generally accepted?”