Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
A former senator who represented Rivers South-East Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Senator Magnus Abe, has called for the sustenance of internal democracy in the All Progressives Congress (APC), saying it is the foundation of democracy.
He canvassed the position at a symposium the Rivers APC Visionary Media organised in Port Harcourt yesterday, noting that supremacy of the party did not translate to supremacy of individuals in the party.
The symposium, which examined “the implications of internal democracy to the development of democracy In Nigeria”, was attended by chieftains of the Rivers APC including the former senator representing Rivers-West in the National Assembly, Senator Wilson Ake.
Speaking at the symposium, Abe stated that supremacy of the party “does not mean supremacy of individuals in the party, but supremacy of the rules guiding the party.
He described internal democracy as the actual foundation of democracy, pointing out that without internal democracy, political parties would become tools of oppression in the hands of the leaders.
Abe said internal democracy “is the actual foundation of democracy. Without internal democracy, political parties will become tools of oppression in the hands of political leaders.
“We need to appreciate those that proposed that the party is supreme. A lot of people don’t understand what the supremacy of the party means. The way we understand supremacy of the party in Nigeria is not the same way the people who proposed it understood it.
“It is the supremacy of the rules of the party and not the supremacy of the organs of the party or that of anybody outside the rules. The National Working Committee of the party has become the Supreme Military Council.”
In his lecture titled “The Implications of Internal Democracy To The Development of Democracy In Nigeria”, a constitutional lawyer, Prof. Ritchard Nwokocha, said under democracy, all participants in the process were equal.
Nwokocha, who is a senior lecturer in the Department of Business Law, Rivers State University, Port Harcourt said all participants in the democratic process have equal values.
He described election as the face of democracy, adding that without elections, there would not be democracy.
He said: “All participants carry equal value. All participants are qualified to lead.
“The government or state policies must pursue the common goal of all. All leaders are under duty to account to the followers.
“Election is the face of democracy, without elections, we cannot have democracy. Internal democracy must take us somewhere and enable us achieve something.”
Also, former Senator Representing Rivers West, Wilson Ake said internal democracy would enable ordinary people to have access to power, adding that people should live according to what they preach.