‘2023 elections worsened party politics, indiscipline’ (guardian.ng)

‘2023 elections worsened party politics, indiscipline’


How would you describe the relationship between you and your party?
There is no problem. Our relationship has been very cordial. You can notice that I was in Kogi State recently to join the campaign group for the coming governorship election, and also, in Bayelsa State, where I am a member of the campaign council. I’m working as a party person to ensure that APC continues to win elections across the board.

From your personal experience, what will you say about party discipline in Nigeria?
I think political parties have weakened in the last couple of years, especially, because of the rate at which people decamp from one party to another. The supremacy of the party we used to know is no longer there because the party’s decisions are no longer sacrosanct. I believe that the party as a gatekeeper to the political process needs to be strengthened.
When the G-5 began to work against their party, one would have expected the PDP to take disciplinary action against them for their anti-party roles, but that did not happen. I recall a couple of times when the former governor and now a minister dared the party. That presupposes that you find yourself to be in a position that is bigger than the party, which should not be the case. And I think for those younger people coming into politics, once they see that kind of thing, it tells them that there’s a level that you can become and you are bigger than the party and that shouldn’t be. It’s a dangerous precedent that should be checked.

Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State in the last general elections, Tonye Cole, spoke with MUYIWA ADEYEMI on why party decisions are no longer sacrosanct and the imperative of another review of the Electoral Act.

As a major player in the last general elections, was there any collaboration or working relationship between the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State?
There was nothing like that. But what we saw is what you would call anti-party activities within the PDP factions. It is one of the things that we found confusing, especially in Rivers PDP where you see people cross carpeting anyhow. They stayed within their party and did not work for their candidates. You saw the group, called G-5 at that time, they were in PDP, but they were fighting PDP and they didn’t leave the party.

But it was reported that you have withdrawn your petitions at the tribunal?
No, I have not withdrawn my petition; it was my party APC that withdrew its petitions, but I continued in my own capacity as a candidate. And we submitted our final address on September 6 and we went for the adoption of our address. Before October 10, we hope to get a judgment.

What solutions do you envision for this issue? Share your ideas.


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