In any democratic dispensation, one major organization that drives the democratic processes are the political parties that field candidates who will represent the people and also deliver democratic dividends at all levels.
Most nations have popular political parties that win most of the elections while there are still other smaller parties that are not even represented in government at all. In this piece I will be highlighting the ten political parties in Nigeria that most people hardly know of
1. DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE’S PARTY
This party was founded in 2006 by disgruntled members of the All Nigeria People’s Party. Their presidential candidate for the 21st April, 2007 Attahiru Bafarawa came last in the election with total votes of 289,324. Jeremiah Useni who was the founding national chairman of the party was a federal minister during the military government of Gen. Sani Abacha. He was suspended in December 2008 after making a statement that the killing of Ken Saro-Wiwa was a national sacrifice. He was succeeded by Biodun Ogunbiyi who criticized his leadership as the cause of their failure to win any seats in Senate or Federal House of Representatives.
2. CITIZENS POPULAR PARTY
CPP was founded by a legal luminary and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Oliseh Agbakoba (OON); who is known for his stance against injustice. It was initially known as Green Party but was renamed to Citizens Popular Party in 2006 in review of the party’s mission; to serve a democratic government to Nigerians in practice and not theory. The party made history by being the first political party to elect a woman as National Secretary in the person Hajara Ishiaku.
3. INDEPENDENT DEMOCRATS
This party believes in the supremacy of the Nigerian constitution hence their manifesto centers on the accord between the party and Nigerian people. It believes in liberal democratic and constitutional governance and shall by all means protect and promote it. According to I.D., the protection of lives and properties of citizens shall be given priority and their rights and liberties must be upheld. The party was registered on August 16, 2016 alongside the People Democratic Movement in the wake of the preparation of the 2015 general elections.
4. MEGA PROGRESSIVE PEOPLES PARTY
This party was founded by Chief Rasheed Adewale Shitta-Bey, who later became a top chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC). The party fondly calls itself MP3 as a way of highlighting their acronym. It was also among the parties that endorsed former Jonathan Jonathan as their choice candidate for the 2015 general elections. Some of their principal officers include; Hon. Akanni Olayinka Shehu as national chairman, Mohammed S. Kanze as national secretary, Hon. Akanni Olayinka as national treasurer, Sanni A. Karlahi as national financial secretary, Barr. Oguntimering Adelaja as national legal adviser. Their office address is located at 1st Avenue, House 53, FHA, Lugbe, Abuja.
5. AFRICAN DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS
This is one of the parties that contested for the 2015 presidential elections with Chief Ralph Nwosu as their national chairman. They ran their campaigns based on a “Global Transformation Initiative” programme aimed at mobilizing people at the grassroots level. This programme they believed, will reduce suffering, engage people, create jobs, cause a reduction in insecurity, corruption and also create avenue for us to export our own goods through people engagement. The party’s chairman has also come out to criticize the Buhari government and some issues that affect this government.
6. AFRICAN PEOPLE’S ALLIANCE
This party also took part in the much acclaimed 2015 general elections with their presidential candidate Alhaji Musa Ayeni saying that he was ordained by God to take over the mantle of leadership from former President Goodluck Jonathan. He made boast therefore that he would win both former President Jonathan and APC Presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari. At the launch of the party in Lagos state in 2015, the state chairman Prince Lateef Adegoroye said the party had all it takes to wrest power from the All Progressives Congress in Lagos State.
7. UNITED PROGRESSIVE PARTY
The party was formed by Chekwas Okorie after he left the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) where he was the national chairman. He left APGA because he felt that a few had hijacked the party which he said was not in the interest of Ndi-Igbo. The party has the head of a tiger as its symbol with Love and Unity as its motto. The party also participated in the 2015 general elections with Chekwas Okorie as their Presidential candidate.
8. NEW NIGERIA PEOPLE’S PARTY
This started as a political movement in 2001 and was later registered a political party in 2002 by INEC and it also commenced full operations as a political party in the December of that same year. Its guiding principles and vision is centered around the creation of a new Nigeria, a country that every of its citizen will be proud of, a country that will hold its head very high in the committee of other nations, a country where people’s actions and attitudes will be guided fully by the rule of law and basic principles of equity, fairness and justice. It participated in the 2003 general elections with Dr Kalu Idika Kalu, a former minister of finance and World Bank consultant as its presidential candidate.
9. YOUNG DEMOCRATIC PARTY
This is a political party registered in Nigeria with focus on young and passionate Nigerians who believe in the possibility of a new Nigeria and establishing the Nigeria of our dreams. It started its registration process in December 2013 and completed this in April 2014. By May 2014 it was already deemed a registered political party. The chairman of the party is Arc. Nya-Etok Ezekiel.
10. ADVANCED CONGRESS OF DEMOCRATS
The party was formed as an opposition party in March 2006. In September 2006 it merged into the newly formed Action Congress. The party was composed of former members of the People’s Democratic Party and formed part of the anti-Obasanjo alliance. It was formed by opponents of the third term agenda of former President Obasanjo who was seeking a constitutional amendment to that effect.
There are a few other political parties that are largely unknown. I’m of the opinion that as voters, we must take time to sit down and study all the political parties contesting during an election so we can make informed choices.