At a retreat on the Dynamics of Managing Political Parties, organised on Monday by the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara had something interesting to say about parties which do not govern based on their manifesto.
“It is worthy to mention that in an attempt to either capture or hold on to power, some political parties have sometimes embellished their manifestoes with unrealistic promises. It is a political malpractice for an elected government to govern without reference to the manifesto that was placed before the voters which essentially formed the basis of their election,” he said.
Why this matters
In reality, only two parties have governed Nigeria since 1999. Dogara’s former party, the PDP, and his current party, the APC. So when he says parties embellish their manifestoes, he is referring to either or both of them. When he says governing without reference to manifesto is malpractice, he is referring to either or both of them.
The PDP is not in power at the centre presently even though they govern several states. The APC is the party at the centre and controls a majority of executive and legislative seats in the country.
So let us take a look at that party’s manifesto and see if they are governing based on its details. The APC’s manifesto is still on its website so we could use that.
A random sample of some of what the APC promised to do, according to its manifesto:
- Initiate action to amend our Constitution with a view to devolving powers, duties and responsibilities to states and local governments in order to entrench true Federalism and the Federal spirit. (COMMENT: The party indeed – after much agitation from Nigerians – set up a committee to consider devolution of powers among other structural issues. That committee chaired by Kaduna Gov. Elrufai has submitted its report but it is important to note that the leader of the party, Pres. Muhammadu Buhari has said that such restructuring is not what the country needs presently.)
- Amend the Constitution to remove immunity from prosecution for elected officers in criminal cases. (COMMENT: LOL)
- Ensure full implementation of the Freedom of Information Act so that government held data sets can be requested and used by the media and the public at large, and then published on regular basis. (COMMENT: Ask media houses, SERAP, BUdgIT and other CSOs of the frequent ordeal they go through to get information.)
- Require full disclosure in all media outlets of all government contracts over N100m prior to award and during implementation at regular intervals. (COMMENT: HAHAHAHA)
- Begin widespread consultations to amend the Constitution to enable States and Local Governments to employ State and Community Police to address the peculiar needs of each community. (COMMENT: This is a recommendation of the El-rufai committee but again, Pres. Buhari doesn’t think this is important).
- Bring permanent peace and solution to the Niger Delta and other conflict prone areas such as Plateau, Taraba, Bauchi, Borno and Abia in order to engender national unity and social harmony. (COMMENT: Oh wait, this was in the manifesto??? IN cased you missed this story from today: Herdsmen kill 25 people in Plateau which doesn’t have an anti-grazing law – why it matters)
- Make our economy one of the fastest growing emerging economies in the world with a real GDP growth averaging 10% annually. (COMMENT: RECESSION! RECESSION!! RECESSION!!!)
- Create 6 new Regional Economic Development Agencies (REDAs) to act as champions of sub-regional competitiveness. Put in place a N300bn regional growth fund (average of N50bn in each geo-political region) to be managed by the REDAs. (COMMENT: If you have ever heard of this say “AYE”? The “NAYS” have it”)
- Amend the Constitution and the Land Use Act to create freehold/leasehold interests in land along with matching grants for states to create a nationwide electronic land title register on a state by state basis. (COMMENT: LOL)
- Create additional middle-class of at least 2 million new home owners in our first year in government and 1 million annually thereafter; by enacting a national mortgage system that will lend at single digit interest rates for purchase of owner occupier houses. (COMMENT: Dear Fashola, did you get this memo at all?)
- Guarantee a minimum price for selected crops… (COMMENT: Come and see communism o!)
- Generate, transmit and distribute from current 5,000 – 6,000 MW to at least 20,000 MW of electricity within four years… (COMMENT: There’s still time… We just need to triple the current capacity in the next 15 months to hit the target. Easy.).
- Modernize the NNPC and make it the national energy champion. Consider breaking it up into more efficient, commercially driven units and strip it of its regulatory powers and enable it tap into international capital market. (COMMENT: The minister of petroleum resources, Mr. Muhammadu Buhari, is working on it… or not…)
- Increase the quality of all federal government owned hospitals to world class standard within five years… (COMMENT: Please stop… please stop… )
Okay, okay, let’s stop at this point. The manifesto is here.
So as Speaker Yakubu Dogara was saying (about his party?): “It is a political malpractice for an elected government to govern without reference to the manifesto that was placed before the voters which essentially formed the basis of their election.”