What’s the Big Deal About National Conventions in Nigerian Political Parties?

March 26, 2022

After many battles, the All Progressives Congress (APC) will finally hold its national convention on March 26th 2022.

The ruling party’s road to the national convention has been paved with enough drama for a TV miniseries. There have been postponements, an attempted palace coup, a dramatic comeback and a state governor even publicly called his fellow governors Yahoo boys.

National conventions are usually divisive

National conventions aren’t always this eventful, but they’re big deals for political parties in Nigeria. What exactly makes them such a force?

It’s the head of the house

National conventions are usually divisive

A national convention is at the top of the food chain in the internal structure of a political party. It’s the organ that formulates the policies of a party and reviews the constitution that guides its operations. 

The national convention is the only one with the authority to come late to a meeting and say, “Let’s start again from the beginning.”  It may also delegate some of its powers to other organs of the party as it sees fit.

It’s the party’s glucose guardian

As the head of the house, the national convention of the party is also principally responsible for raising adequate funds for the party to survive. It’s responsible for auditing the accounts, by appointing external auditors, to ensure no one is doing any funny business with the party’s purse.

Election of national officers and presidential candidates

National conventions are usually divisive

What national conventions are most popular for in Nigeria is the election of national officers of political parties. Party officers voted into the National Working Committee (NWC) of a party are responsible for its day-to-day running at the national level. Parties elect these officers and their presidential candidates at national conventions.

ALSO READ: Why APC’s Things Are Falling Apart

It’s the Intro-tech teacher

National conventions are usually divisive

The national convention of a party is also the Intro-tech teacher of the party. It ratifies disciplinary actions against officers that bring shame to the party. If you do anyhow, you see anyhow.

It holds every four years

It’s usually a party.

One of the things that makes a party’s national convention special is that it rarely holds. National conventions typically take place every four years. A special national convention can be convened for the election of a party’s presidential candidate. Special conventions can also be convened by the National Executive Committee (NEC) which is the party’s second most powerful organ. 

In the times that the national convention doesn’t convene, the NEC supervises and directs the operations of the party.

Membership

The membership of a party’s national convention cuts across its organs from top to bottom — it’s a very long list. It includes members of the NEC, NWC, members of the party that are currently president, vice president, governors, deputy governors, and federal and state lawmakers. Membership also includes members of the party’s Board of Trustees, Zonal Working Committee (ZWC), state party executives and elected Local Government Council chairmen.

INEC is always watching

A party’s national convention is a big deal, but the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) wields a bigger stick. INEC must get at least 21 days notice for any convention, else the conveners would just be wasting their time.

ALSO READ: Why’s Everyone Fighting Over Section 84 of the Electoral Act?

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