Nigeria: Atedo Peterside Joins Political Party, Urges Nigerians to Do Same

Mr Peterside said he joined the SDP after studying the party.

The founder of Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC, Atedo Peterside, says he has joined a political party and has registered as a member of Social Democratic Party.

Mr Peterside said he was not planning yet to run for any political office but that he plans to work to help sanitise Nigeria's political system in a way that would help produce quality leaders. He urged all adult Nigerians to do the same.

"Nobody is going to come from Mars or Jupiter to improve Nigerian political parties. If they remain defective then they may consistently spew out bad choices," he said on Arise TV's Morning Show, where he first indicated he had joined a political party without disclosing the name of the party he joined.

He later posted on Twitter that he had registered with the SDP after commissioning a review to study the available 18 parties.

*After deep reflection, I decided to join the Social Democratic Party (SDP)," he wrote on Twitter.

In an earlier statement, he had said: "I now believe that every adult Nigerian at home or abroad should join a political party. Our political parties will not improve on account of external pressure alone. Change must also come from within. It is difficult to improve a Club or Party that you do not belong to. If I believe this, then I also must practise it."

The SDP is one of top Nigerian political parties, but not as influential as the two most influential parties: ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

PREPARING TO VOTE IN 2023

Mr Peterside, who leads the nongovernmental group, Anap Foundation, said he has set up Go Nigeria as an initiative of Snap Foundation, to actively engage Nigerian youth in recent months with the aim of convincing as many of them as possible to register, pick up their voter's cards and get ready to vote in the 2023 general elections.

"I am excited at the possibility of many more Nigerian youths getting politically active between now and the 2023 General Elections and what that portends for Nigeria," he said.

"An increasingly large number of youths have since come back to me, to say that they have registered online with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and done their biometrics and so they expect to pick up their PVCs soon. Others have complained about obstacles and frustrations surrounding biometric capture (in particular) at some INEC Centres; this should be monitored and escalated as necessary.

"Some other youths however stress that they want to go beyond collection of PVCs and actually get involved in party politics, but outside of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People's Democratic Party (PDP). They argue that choosing between the two large political parties is akin to a choice between "the devil and the deep blue sea" (my sincere apologies to the APC/PDP members who are GoNigeria Advocates and the many other good people in APC/PDP who are themselves victims of Godfatherism)".

He said most Nigerians are deeply concerned about the high inflation and high unemployment of the country, and also fear for their lives on account of the worsening security situation.

"Sadly, the poor economy aggravates the security situation and vice versa. It is also impossible to separate economics from politics. Perhaps many of us mistakenly concentrated on the economy for too long?"

STUDYING POLITICAL PARTIES

In choosing a party, Mr Peterside said he was influenced by recent data which confirms that more than 40 per cent of Nigerians disapprove of APC and PDP. He said he commissioned a study of all the other 16 registered political parties with a view to joining one of them.

He scored them in seven broad areas, which felt pertinent:

1)The party manifesto - how appropriate is it for Nigeria at this time?

2) The quality of the Party's National Leadership.

3) My own adjudged acceptability at the local/Ward Level of the Party.

4) The commitment and willingness of the Party leadership to practise internal democracy.

5) Are the larty's doors truly open to Nigerian youths who wish to claim their country back?

6) Are the party's doors truly open to women leaders, or is it yet another male chauvinist enclave?

7) Is it a place where I feel truly welcome?

"The above 7 pointers, after some deep reflection, led me to rank the 16 registered political parties outside of APC and PDP.

"Of course, there is a huge amount of work to be done before the Political Party that I join can become the Natural Challenger to APC and PDP, but like a good party member, I am prepared to roll up my sleeves and work hard to help uplift that political party nationwide," he said.

"Having taken this step, I will encourage other Nigerians to similarly seek membership and proactive participation in political parties where they will feel welcome and which will satisfy some set criteria, including priorities that I might have missed.

"For those Nigerians who favour restructuring and/or a new Constitution, or even Separation, my plea is that you first think about voting into office, leaders who are better able to navigate those "waters" along with our present "waters", which include high unemployment, high inflation plus insecurity all around. The time for sitting on the fence is over. We did so previously and see where we are today. 2023 must be different."

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