The vice-president in Abuja at an event organised by the National Institute for Agency and Strategic Studies (NIPPS) with the theme, “Political Party Supremacy and the Dynamics of Parliamentary Autonomy in Nigeria: Towards a More Harmonious Relationship”, has blamed the tension between the executive and the legislature on weak party structures.
Represented by his Special Assistant, Political Matters, Mr. Babafemi Ojudu, said while it was good to pay attention to the tension between the executive and the legislature, he said there was no cause for alarm because the country’s democracy was work in progress and shall continue to get better.
According to him, “On the issue of supremacy and autonomy, concern should be directed at strengthening our political parties. As things stand today, our political parties are very weak.
“We need to be able to strengthen them and that’s also why I disagree with our former Senate President Ken Nnamani who says Nigerians have a right under the constitution to go from one party to the other.
“If we keep jumping from one party to the other, there will be no way we are going to strengthen the existing ones. People should be able to stay in their political parties and work at strengthening them.
“Leaders built parties and not that you jump to a party today because it is winning and abandon the one that is not winning, and when tomorrow that party that is winning, we jump back to another party, we are not planning to strengthen the parties.
“We should remember that the parties fashion philosophies and ideologies for which they mobilise, they recruit members and draw up manifestos; they sponsor candidates for elective offices, both in the executive and the legislature.
“So when you see the tension we have now, it is because we have not paid adequate attention to building strong parties. Where the party is strong and it understands its mission, it will promote its ideology and make its elected officials to subscribe to its ideology and manifesto.
“Where disagreements arise, these are argued and strengthened out at the level of caucuses within the party. The executive will come together and bring members of the caucuses of the National Assembly or the state assemblies together, they will argue and debate, everybody will be there and decide on a position.
“So you never get to hear about disagreements on the pages of newspaper or on the floors of parliament.”
In this regard, the vice-president called on political actors in Nigeria to build strong parties.
“It is unacceptable for a lawmaker elected by a party that produced the leader of the executive to get up in the parliament and drag down such official, that is the duty of the opposition.
“You cannot disparage your own party, you cannot disparage officials elected by your own party.
“The only thing that can lead to that is when both the people in the legislature and the executive must have gotten there based on issues and ideals they don’t subscribe to.
“If that is the case, should there be any disagreement at all, there should be an avenue for resolving that disagreement.
“It is not acceptable for any lawmaker to create roadblocks on the path of programmes for which his party was elected to power. If your party has an acceptable manifesto and based on this manifesto the people voted for that party and voted you too into the parliament, how dare you build a roadblock and ensure that the programmes for which people voted for you are not allowed to proceed for the benefit of the people?” Osinbajo asked.