Around the world today, political parties are known for their ideology and what they stand for. This defines the policies and programs they pursue when they are in power. Political ideologies vary from socialist, liberal, capitalist and even progressive etc. and these ideologies has defined key democratic countries like France, UK, USA, India; but in Nigeria, there seems to be a death of political parties driven by ideology today.
Arc. kola Ogunloye, a socio-economic analyst defined ideology as “a body of ideas that guide the way political parties see the political domain”. He further said that “a political party that is structured around a particular ideological orientation, is seen in that regard and people can evaluate it better based on its ideological position”.
In political discussion, a political party can defend various decisions based on its ideology. For example, if a party is carrying out certain programmes, the programmes should reflect the party’s ideology and people can evaluate the party’s performance based on their ideology. Of course, it’s left to our imagination to know what happens when a party does not profess any ideology, that means the party lacks basic sets of principles by which the party can be evaluated, hence, resulting to various forms of political escapism when it comes to programmes and policies of the party.
When we take a walk back through history into the 1st Republic, political parties such as; AG (Action Group), NCNC (National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons), NPC (Northern People’s Congress), were all driven by ideology. These parties started as nationalist movements all fighting for the end of colonialism in Africa in general and Nigeria in particular. This was seen by their frequent visits to the United Kingdom, demanding for the independence of Nigeria.
Since the start of the 4th Republic in 1994, there really hasn’t been any political party that is ideologically driven in Nigeria today. Both APC and PDP do not have any ideology that ought to manifest in their socio-economic programmes. All of them are doing the same thing because when one takes a look at the various programmes they are executing, it doesn’t succumb to a need demarcation of ideology. It’s just a question of what are the programmes we want to do; one is doing a transformation agenda in a particular state and the other faction in another state is doing something opposite.
A party’s ideology should reflect the characters and attributes of the people in the party. The conservative party in the UK aims to conserve the British way of life, meanwhile, the labour party is entirely the opposite were they accept people of different nationality to work in the UK. In Nigeria today, there’s nothing you can use to different APC from PDP, except for their brooms and umbrella, which I do not think have any element of ideology in it. Until political parties imbibe some form of ideology, all their self-acclaimed efforts of making Nigeria better will be like pouring water into a basket.