Nigeria not ripe for party internal democracy, ACN lawmaker, Gbajabiamila, says

Mr. Gbajabiamila says the youth should actively participate in Nigeria’s political sphere.

The Minority Leader of the Federal House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said Nigeria’s democracy is yet to develop to sustain internal democracy within political parties.

The lawmaker, who represents Surulere 1 of Lagos State on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, said this in Ibadan on Monday as the guest lecturer of June edition of Think Oyo’s monthly lecture series.

He said the pervading poverty and high level illiteracy among Nigerians has robbed many of the power to choose right in fair election.

“Internal democracy is the ideal thing. It works worldwide, particularly in developed societies where politics of ideas is the in-thing. But here, internal democracy cannot work in our current situation if we want to nurture our democracy to maturity,” he said.

Mr. Gbajabiamila’s party, the ACN, has been accused of often imposing candidates for elections without recourse to the wishes of majority of its members through party primaries. Both party members and the opposition have used this to say the party is not a democratic party. The lawmaker, however, justified his party’s actions.

“For now, if a candidate of good idea and integrity is contesting party ticket with another ill-gotten wealth, there high tendency for the money bag to pick the ticket at expense of the man of ideas and integrity because we worship money in our politics.

“That is not what we want. There will still come a time that we will develop to a stage where internal democracy will work,” he said.

Speaking on the topic, “Engaging youthful minds in national re-engineering process”, the lawmaker charged the Nigerian youth to take advantage of their numerical strength and play an active role in political and economic spheres of the nation.

“The youth need to understand their capacity and power in terms of numerical strength and get actively involved in their political environment and the nation’s economy,” he said.


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  • Afam

    who are the money bags and the men of integrity? Femi was ban from practicing law in USA for 3 years due to graft,he ran to Nigeria and contested for the house of reps due to our lawless nature…his type shouldn’t have been in the house of reps…

  • Ben

    Femi is trying to justify ACN’s undemocratic ways of chosing their leaders which is solely done by Tinubu. Poor you as you dont have any chance at the centre.

  • Omo Akin

    If the party members are so poor and uninformed so that a few elites who are “the party owners” should pick the contestants, then we can use the same argument to say that Nigerians are too poor and uninformed to vote for the right candidate. That means we are not ‘ripe” for democracy. Mr. Gbaja, Nigeria did not encounter democracy in 1999. In UPN, Chief Awolowo allowed a primary run between Bola Ige and Alayande in 1979 and I know the candidate who represented my constituency in the House of Assembly in Ondo State emerged after a primary run in 1983. In the NPN, primary run was used to select candidates for election.
    Nigerians, especially South West and Lagos are more politically sophisticated than Mr. Gbaja thinks. Mr. Gbaja should ask Lagosians about how and why they voted for Otedola. That election confirmed that the people knew what they were doing. Tinubu himself emerged as AD candidate through a keenly contested primary in 1999; so also was Obasanjo. If it was done successfully in 1999, inability to do it 14 years later is a sign of retrogression. It will continue to get worse with the emergency of each new “party boss”. I am sure that Mr. Gbaja will be the first to complain if the arrangement does not favor him.
    There is nothing that can justify ACN’s “party boss” method of selecting candidates. It was the method that cost ACN the governorship of Ondo State. ACN should stop insulting the intelligence of its members. Was it lack of ideas that led to the replacement of Senator Mamora?