Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State on Wednesday called for collaboration among political leaders in Africa to reform the political process for the development and economic transformation of the continent.Ambode who was represented by his deputy, Dr Idiat Adebule made the call at the 2nd African Political Summit with the theme: “Democracy and Political Consultancy” organised by the Association of Political Consultants In Africa (APCA) in Lagos.
According to him, the nature of politics in Africa had for long been a source of grave concern for those who are genuinely interested in taking the continent to its rightful position in the mainstream global system.
”It is in our best interest and in the interest of our democracy to reform our political process and enhance the engagement of the electorate in the Democratic process for credibility and transparency.
”The resultant effect will be effective leadership for transformative growth and development, ” Ambode said.
While stressing further the need for a new political reorientation and adequate sensitization of the electorate for greater participation, the governor noted that such efforts had recently brought about a smooth transition between incumbents and opposition political parties in Ghana and Nigeria, commending the two countries for providing good leadership in the political transition in Africa. He urged African leaders to be more concerned about how to strengthen democratic institution in the region to bring lasting peace and development
Also speaking, Mr Benjamin Eisenberg, a Political Consultant, U.S. said that professionalising the political industry was the only way for democracy to succeed in Africa.
Eisenberg said that the recent elections in Ghana and Gambia showed that democracy was growing and political processes in Africa was becoming encouraging and there was the need to intensify the reformation.
”This conference will avail us the opportunity to discuss better ways of training campaign managers to organise voters and help the people get a better understanding of politics.
”Professionalising politics in Africa will enhance moving to issue-based campaign instead of ethnic or tribal politics, ” he said.
In a goodwill message, Mr Kipngeno Kinai Dunchi, a representative from Kenya said that there was the need for African countries to reform their political practices for the growth of democracy.
”We shall be exchanging ideas on how we can really democratise Africa and ensure that our political system has a stronger ballot which will decide the leadership.
”When we make politics a profession in Africa, we will likely see more people with genuine interest engaging in politics and political affairs will be properly managed, ” he said.
In his remarks, Mr Kehinde Bamgbetan, Chairman APCA said that the way politics was practised in Africa, with poor campaign processes, poor financing, poor mobilisation, violence, fear and anxiety called for concern.
Bamgbetan said that politics in Nigeria and Africa was negatively affecting the growth of democracy.
”APCA seek to redefine the way politics is played in Africa. We need to emulate advanced countries where politics is characterised with healthy rivalry and scientific approach.
”We can achieve such in Nigeria and Africa by following scientific pattern of politics to enhance political practice with healthy competition and reduce corruption in politics for the good of the people, ” he said.
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