Anti- democratic practices clog in the wheel of Africa’s progress

By Leon Usigbe, Nigerian Tribune

A group, Association of Political Consultants-Africa (APC- Africa), has said that the continent is today beset by a litany of anti-democratic practices that have stalled her progress in all spheres, noting that such anti-democratic practices include daylight electoral robberies, subversion of electoral rules, sit-tight leadership syndrome, among others.

Chairman, Local Organizing Committee (LOC) of the association, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, said this on Thursday at a press briefing, organised to herald the 2nd Africa Summit and Diamond Award of the APC- Africa coming up in Lagos between April 11th and 14th, 2017.

He spoke alongside the Chairman of the group, Nigerian chapter, Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan; Mrs. Temitope Lakisokun, Kurtis Adigba, among others, maintaining as did by Bamigbetan that the group was blind to all the political parties existing in the country.

The APC-Africa, according to Okanlawon, who is also Special Adviser to Osun State Governor of Communication and Strategy, takes its root from the International Association of Political Consultants IAPC, which was formed in 1968, adding that affiliates of the IAPC were the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) and the European Association of Political Consultants (EAPC).

“Africa is today beset by a litany of anti-democratic practices that have stalled her progress in all spheres. Daylight electoral robberies, subversion of electoral rules, sit-tight leadership syndrome are some of the problems of the African democracy that come to mind,” he said.

To this end, Okanlawon said the conference, with the theme: “Democracy and Political Consultancy,” would witness the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, leading professionals drawn from different parts of Africa, America, Asia and Europe to x-ray the vital place of political consultancy in Africa’s democratic practice and culture.

They include governors, speakers of Houses of Assembly, party chieftains, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Kipng’eno Kirui, William Akoto, Ousainou Darboe, Nancy Boscor (USA), Diane-Monique Adjanon, Prof. Sakinath Bello, Dr. Cheikh Omar Diallo (Senegal), Ucha Ndukwe and Dele Alake.

Others are Job Okello (Uganda), Tunji Awonusi (Nigeria), Simon LaFrance (Canada), Sunday Dare (Nigeria), Jonathan Misoi (Kenya), Ben Eisenberg Savvypol (USA), among others.

The LOC APC- Africa boss, while noting that the body’s two main goals are the nurturing of and development of democracy in Africa as well as fostering of better political consulting practices in this continent, contended that with the troubles faced by African democracy, political consultants had great roles to play to reshape the thinking of the leaders and the led.

He said this they could only do if political consultants themselves were well organized, focused on the values of this assignment through regular exchange of ideas such as this annual summit and other related activities.

“Apart from bringing home to the consciousness of our people, the essence of political consultancy and igniting further interests in the area of practice, the 2017 Lagos summit promises to showcase Nigeria’s rich heritage to the scores of professionals who have agreed to be in Nigeria for this summit.

“For the conference, we have already secured the nod of notable speakers on the different topics lined up. Below is an array of the speakers being expected at the summit.

“Some of those who have agreed to be part of this event as speakers are the Acting President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo who is expected to declare the event open.

“Also expected to be witness is the Lagos State Governor, Akinwumi Ambode, who is expected to showcase the shoreline of Lagos in a boat cruise listed as part of the highlights of the event,” Okanlawon said.

It would be recalled that the first edition of the Summit and Diamond Award took place in Cape Town, South Africa between January 7th and 9th, 2016.