Director General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum PGF, Salihu Moh. Lukman has urged Nigerians to learn from current happenings in United of America where democratic institutions stand to defend the nation not any elected officials. He calls for immediate audit of the national secretariat of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC as a way of strengthening its bureaucracy to contribute to national development. Lukman in a statement hailed how American political institutions rose above the foibles of partisanship and ensured that the United States President, Donald Trump was not allowed to subvert the democratic process. He said that Nigeria needs to learn from the US and build her institutions. According to him there is “the need to undertake audit of what currently exists as the party’s Secretariat, its functions and personnel”.
“For instance, how is it structured to provide services to the APC as provided by the constitution of the party? Are there supportive rules provided for the operations of the party bureaucracy? How effective has the application of those rules been? What is required to strengthen the rules guiding the discharge of functions of the Secretariat? How are the personnel of the Secretariat recruited? Are there standard recruitment guidelines, highlighting qualification requirements? How can the process be strengthened? The third issue is the question of funding. How is the work of the Secretariat funded? Once funding is not guaranteed, it will affect the quality of personnel and also the proposals and recommendations which they make”, Lukman said.
According to him, while it is very easy to raise these questions, it is however extremely difficult to get them to the level of actionable consideration by APC leaders. “The fact that as members of APC we can raise these issues present some advantages for the party. As far as PDP is concerned these are issues that are foreclosed. As a party, PDP has over the years lived in complete denial of all its internal organisational challenges. Therefore, the issue of building the PDP as a strong institution is limited to winning elections, as far as PDP leaders and members are concerned. If anything, the lived experiences of PDP confirms that winning elections is not the same as strengthening the party. Even with weaker parties, elections can be won”, he added. He said the starting point should therefore be to strengthen the commitment of political leaders produced by the APC to consider rational political proposals and recommendations as well as their implementation, once decided. “As Nigerians, we must wake up to the reality that there cannot be a strong democracy without strong political parties. Once our political leaders are unable to orient themselves to respect and recognise proposals from the party’s bureaucracy, they will be weak in respecting, recognising or working with proposals from government bureaucracies when elected to office. There is no shortcut to these issues!”, Lukman added.
He noted that given the role of political parties in producing political leaders, “once our parties are unable to recognise and respect the value of bureaucracies to guide processes of decision making and implementation within the party, elected leaders that they produce would most likely go into government with a mindset that at best disregard proposals and recommendations from civil service and other government bureaucracies. This can only breed administrative authoritarianism, which as argued by Camilla Stivers in the book Bureaucracy, and the Study of Administration, ‘Administrative authoritarianism, officiousness, and arbitrariness are much more serious threats to the rights and liberties of the individual… The real protection of the citizens lies in the development of a high degree of democratic consciousness among the administrative hierarchy. For us to be able to develop the needed democratic consciousness among the hierarchy of our political leaders, we need to focus ourselves on issues that will support the development of strong bureaucracies in our parties. As things are, what exists as bureaucracies in our political parties are highly fragile and hardly guide processes of decision making and implementation”, the PGF DG said.