Consolidating Democratic Practices Through Expansion of Participatory Interfaces: The Emergence of All Progressive Congress (ACP)

The National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity) welcomes with relief the recently announced merger of four erstwhile opposition political parties in Nigeria.

This merger has given birth to the All Progressives Congress (APC); comprising the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the All Nigeria Peoples' Party (ANPP), the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC).

As an international organization that has at the core of its mission, a responsibility to facilitate dialogue and lead activities that will engender social change in consonance with the common aspirations of the people, we believe that this merger is happening at an auspicious time. Rightly so, considering the growing fears that our democracy, nay, Nigeria, is being inadvertently led, by what some schools of thought have identified as a march towards the dark alley of a one-party State.

The National Association of Seadogs , is particularly impressed by the motivating principle of this merger which was captured in the following words by a spokesman for the coalition, "we resolved to form a political party committed to the principles of internal democracy, focused on serious issues of concern to our people, determined to bring corruption and insecurity to an end, determined to grow the economy and create jobs in their millions through education, housing, agriculture, industrial growth and to stop the increasing mood of despair and hopelessness among our people".

However, the National Association of Seadogs wishes to express categorically, its hope that this merger was not borne out of a Machiavellian principle and quest to grab power at any cost, for the sake of it; rather than for the purpose of instilling and promoting a pristine democratic culture amongst the political class. We have carefully studied the motivation for this merger, as expressed by the parties involved, and even though we agree that these reasons, in principle, will engender the attainment of a more democratic Nigerian society, we will not shy away from observing that the majority of the founders were part of the old order that promoted all the ills that continue to militate against the socio-economic development and empowerment of majority of Nigerians. In fact, some of them (without mentioning names) worked hand in glove with the most undemocratic and authoritarian regime of Nigeria's immediate past to scuttle the enthronement of democratic values and principles in the Country.

As a forward thinking organization with strong belief in the principles of democracy and freedom, we would like to see a situation where the governing party, the People's Democratic Party (PDP) and all other well-meaning Nigerians will accord the newly formed alliance the necessary encouragement and needed support to succeed. Nigerians should be encouraged to exercise their right to belong to any political association of their choice and should be allowed to form alliances to realize their legitimate political aspirations.

Undoubtedly, the success of this merger will engender healthy competition within the political arena and enhance democratic practices across board. It is our belief that the ultimate benefit of improved democratic processes and practices would be the fostering of a modern democracy in our country, Nigeria.

The National Association of Seadogs uses this opportunity to congratulate the founders of the All Progressives Congress (APC). It is our hope that the much advertised free, fair and credible elections, which remains amongst the most paramount yearnings of Nigerians will stem forth from the debates and healthy competition, which the involvement of All Progressives Congress (APC) will bring. We equally hope that other political parties will see this as a call to duty; as an opportunity to re-assess their commitments to the people of Nigeria and make amends, in respect of improved service delivery to the citizenry.

We are also mindful of the important role of the media in articulating the issues, sensitising the masses and leading dialogue in our journey towards more vibrant, issue-driven democracy and implore responsible, objective reportage of issues and events.
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!

Ide Owodiong-Idemeko
NAS Cap'n