A chieftain of the People’s Democratic party in Akwa Ibom state and former Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Chief Nduese Essien, has expressed fear that major political parties in the country are on the verge of collapse.
He said the present situation with political parties is a far cry from what obtained in 1999, where elections were won on merit as the military supervised them and allowed rules and regulation systems to operate, unlike the present, where parties no longer abide by their principles but operate on the whims and caprices of their emergent owners.
Essien raised the concern in Eket Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom state when he received the governorship candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party and former Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, who was in Eket to seek his support for the governorship in 2023.
Essien, a one-time House of Representatives member, described as sad the current situation where each party now has an owner, and the owner decides who does what, stressing that the country could not continue like that.
He said, “Let me use this opportunity to alert all of us that the major political parties are on the verge of collapse throughout the country. The gradual persistent erosion of political cultures in the parties since 2003 has led them to the situation they have found themselves today.
“Parties no longer abide by their principles, rules and regulations but have been allowed to operate on the whims and caprices of the emergent owners. The organs of authority, direction and coordination have become extinct.
“This is responsible for the multifarious harvest of court cases after each primary election and the calamities which often befall these parties. Political parties were not run the way they were now in 1999 when we came out to contest elections. Whoever won elections then won it on merit.
“But from 2003, few people will just sit somewhere, write names and announce. Indiscipline, disorder and outright impunity have a terminal point. This terminal point has been reached by major parties, thus enabling the small parties without structures to cause them a stir and the current panic for relevance and positions.
“There is a revolution in the offing-a spontaneous protest against the numerous wrong ways of doing things. The current situation is a call to return to the basics, and the time is now. The big parties may have to give way in 2023 for a restart of our democratic experience.”
He commended senator Akpanudoedehe for showing how political parties should be played by visiting stakeholders who do not belong to his political party to inform of his desire to contest as governor of the State in 2023.
He wished other candidates would do the same, adding, “This is good politics and the right way to play it. Politics is not supposed to be played in rigidly compartmentalised platforms devoid of the entry and exit of members.
“Once a nomination has been won within the party, the candidates are free to canvass for support across the board because if elected, you will become the Governor of the entire state and not of the political party. I commend your determination and persistence in being governor of the state since 2011.
“As a politician with a sound intellectual base, you are eminently qualified to be Governor. However, at a stage, you should consider stepping aside to be a kingmaker, playing advisory role which is most needed in the fast deteriorating democratic practice base on party politics.”
The former minister, who is Atta of Ekid, listed some outstanding demands, the Eket people Shall be expecting from the next administration in the state to include, the establishment of the Akwa Ibom Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commissíon, Delineation of local government area boundaries and resuscitation, and development of Qua River Hotels in Eket, and establishment of a befitting low-density Housing Estate, among few others.
Earlier, the governorship candidate, Senator John Akpanudoedehe, noted that he joined the NNPP platform to actualise his visions for Akwa Ibom, noting that he decided to visit Chief Essien because of his relevance in Akwa Ibom politics and as the political leader of Eket Senatorial district.
He assured that if voted into office, Akwa Ibom Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commissíon would be established without delay and appealed to
Chief Essien to support him to win in Eket.
“The PDP government has not been fair to Eket. There are a lot of votes in Eket. Vote for me, and I will complete all projects that Udom will abandon in Eket. I will empower our people to develop themselves so that we can build a peaceful state. You cannot be talking about maintaining peace when people are hungry,” he said.