Leaders of Lagos State All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday, charged members on openness, inclusion, discipline, conflict management and resolution to achieve victory in the 2023 general elections.
At a retreat, which held in Lagos, former state chairman of the party, Henry Ajomale who spoke on the topic, “Roles and responsibilities of party executives,” said that synergy and effectiveness, which lead to winning elections comes from the relationship shared from national level down to the state.
Ajomale stated that information dissemination as at when due is a main factor to achieving success in any election, adding that zonal meetings with national representatives, local council meetings across the states and federation are key in ensuring a seamless working environment for any party and its executives.
He noted that considering the goal of all political parties to win elections and to form a sustainable government, executives of the party must take their roles and responsibilities seriously and be determined in pursuing it.
Ajomale noted that when he was the chairman party, his team worked in a mutually respectful environment where everyone was equal and nobody was disenfranchised and that helped to guarantee success from within before going to the polls.
He said, “My experience being a state chairman for 12 years was largely based on openness, where anyone and everyone had access to see me. What I realised early enough as a politician was to be open to everyone as this guarantees up to date information per minute. In politics information is the key to your survival and success.
“You cannot be an executive of a party and not leave your phones open or your doors open like it’s a private organisation. That is a guarantee for doom.”
Speaking on “Conflict, Management and Resolution,” former national legal adviser of APC, Babatunde Ogala, SAN, bemoaned that Nigeria’s political parties, unlike what entails in other jurisdictions, have not institutionalised efficient frameworks for dealing with conflicts among their rank and file.
He said as demonstrated by the APC, intra-party conflicts are not only threats to democratic consolidation but also to social harmony and stability of the party.
Ogala added that intra-party conflicts are rooted in a genre of political practice, which makes entrance into public office a surety for easy access to public resources and an avenue to private accumulation of wealth.
He noted that conflicts among members often arise over issues of internal leadership recruitments, selection of candidates for general elections, sharing of appointive posts as obtained in the ruling APC.
Ogala added that APC does not have a Board of Trustees/Advisory Council, which should be the conscience of the party six years after clinching power, as a result, crises within the party festers.
“As a result of the failure to manage conflict the appropriate way, loss of lives, hate speeches, governance disruption, uncertainty, displacements and destruction of property, unnecessary and avoidable litigation have been occasioned.
“Initially, the parties can employ an internal dispute resolution mechanism but where this method lacks the capacity to resolve the conflict, the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) method can be resorted to by the parties.”
He said the leadership of the party has to be an active listener, aware of every verbal tone and also be a good reader of body language.
Ogala advised that to get disputants to stop fighting and start cooperating entails steering the discussion away from accusations and towards ways of resolving the conflict.
An associate Professor, Tunde Oseni who spoke on ‘Mobilisation of Party Members For Elections,’ said internal mobilisation must precede external, saying all are needed, including the citizens, voters, partisans, and party sympathisers.
He urged party mobilisers, leaders and operatives to widen the net of mobilisation to include all these categories and start with internal mobilisation of members and then extend to the external mobilisation of non-partisans including the voters and party sympathisers.
“Party leaders, members and operatives must understand the dynamics of politics, policies and propaganda, which are all crucial to mobilisation, both in forms of socialisation and sensitisation.”
He identified gladiators, transistors and spectators as the levels of political participation, adding that spectators can graduate into becoming transistors and transistors can become gladiators, but not all transistors will become gladiators.
“It is the order of nature that some will lead and others will follow. A Political Scientist, Robert Mitchel called it the ‘Iron Law of Oligarchy’.”
A chieftain of the party, Fouad Oki who spoke on the topic, ‘Discipline,’ said urgent and prompt steps must be taken by all the stakeholders in Nigerian politics and administration to check the ugly trends of indiscipline and corruption in political parties in Nigeria to prevent the truncation of the democratic process by the military as before.
He said a political party that has disciplined and well controlled members will be much more focused and goal-oriented, and therefore, will be able to implement its manifestoe, which will bring about improvement in the living standard of the citizens, and by extension, good governance and development will be prevalent in the country.
“It must be emphasised that the various political parties that had existed in Nigeria, have failed Nigeria and Nigerians, because they embraced corruption wholesale through party indiscipline, and allowed corruption to reign supreme in the country.
“The consequences of their corrupt practices have resulted in the dehumanisation of Nigerians, to the extent that the greatest number of Nigerians now live far below the poverty line of $1 per day, despite all the mineral resources endowed on the nation by Divine Providence. Therefore, party discipline as an instrument of party control is a condition sine qua non for the success of any political party.
“In Nigeria, most political office holders have not seen the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; they do not know whether their party’s Constitution exists; neither can they recite their party’s manifestoe.
“Therefore, every political party must endeavour to give proper education along this line to its members, so that they can understand the concept of espirit de corps and work in unison to achieve the goals of their parties and by extension enhance the welfare of Nigerians.”