AS the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Conference/Dialogue storms Benin, the Edo State Capital, South-South geo-political zone, today, in continuation of its zonal visits in search of inputs to fashion modalities for the proposed national conference, it has been urged to include political parties in the exercise.
Making the appeal, Dr Yunusa Tanko, national chairman of the Inter-Party Advisory Council, IPAC, an umbrella body of the 25 registered political parties in the country, said attempts to exclude the political parties would hurt the confab because the parties are key drivers of democracy.
Chairman of the confab modality committee, Senator Femi Okurounmu, said recently that political parties could always corrode the process and bastardise it and “we (committee) don’t want to give room for that.”
Tanko, at a speech last week, during sensitisation of parties and stakeholders in Anambra for the November 16 governorship election, said the political parties were in support of the conference but warned that failure to consult the parties would not augur well for the dialogue.
His words: “The idea of a national dialogue is an indispensable project for Nigeria if we are to squarely address issues like nepotism, favouritism, corruption, institutional decay, insecurity, political problems, lack of trust among ourselves, achievement of Millennium Development Goals, MDGs, and very importantly the issue of true federalism.
“The political parties are the primary institutions and key drivers in any democratic society like ours, therefore, adequate representation should be accorded political parties in the dialogue bearing in mind that all other social vices in the country would be addressed when we are able to fix our political systems. It is vital that those who are in-charge of political parties should be fully involved in this project as this will ensure adequate implementation of all political recommendations during the dialogue.
“While we ask for focus on the improvement of welfare, security and development in all aspects of our nation, fairness, equitable distribution of our common wealth, peace, stability, self-leadership and credible electoral process, where one person one vote counts, political parties must be consulted.”
“Any attempt to exclude the political parties as stated by the chairman of the committee on national dialogue, Chief Okurounmu would be a recipe for failure ab nitio. Our voice must be considered as the primary constituency for moving the country forward.”