Ahead of the 2023 general elections, a constitutional lawyer, Barr Chijioke Agu, has regretted the hijack of political parties by state governors instead of the other way around.
Barr Agu spoke in Enugu recently during a programme monitored by our correspondent. According to him, the trend destroyed the party supremacy as enshrined in various constitutions of political parties.
In his words, “In the Second Republic, parties determined what manifestoes and policies of those elected under them. Meetings were presided over by party chairmen. Then governors did not use excess powers. Sadly enough, today governors decide what happens. They build their structures, which the parties and local government chairmen implement.”
He further advised Nigerian politicians to engage in issue-based campaigns rather than character defamation. He said the current campaigns of calumny being perpetrated by politicians had left much to be desired as electorate are left clueless over the best candidates to choose from.
Barr Agu said, “It’s a pity they concentrate on the mundane. They raise petty issues of calling names. In the Second Republic, we looked forward to political debates. Then Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, KO Mbadiwe, Nnia Nwodo, among others, engaged electorate with issue-based campaigns.
“Today, it is a do-or-die affair. How would that translate to making Nigeria better? Under the Electoral Act, sections 1, 2, and 3, there are provisions to check these things. The police are empowered by the law to fight it. But police merely act on these issues. Police are poorly funded. They gain from governors and political leaders because their pockets are dry.”