Akinyemi canvasses two-party system as antidote to ethnic politics



FORMER Minister of External Affairs, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, has identified two party system as the antidote to the discontent of ethnic politics.

He also stated that, it has been really difficult to gauge the level of attachment of people to ethnic politics as it appears that the political elite regards it as the equivalent of a water faucet to be turned on and off to satisfy the whims and caprices of the elites.

“I believe that a two-party system, whether imposed by the constitution or evolving naturally is the best antidote to the invidiousness of ethnic politics”, he said.

Akinyemi stated this at the 2015 AELEX legal practitioners Annual lecture, under the theme: African countries: Politics, Democracy and Ethnicity, held in Lagos.

There is another convention which, according to Akinyemi has crept into use and that is the principle of rotation, between the North and the South at presidential elections.

The same principle he added has also crept into elections at state level, with candidates being rotated among senatorial districts and between religious divides.
He stated further that other African states have in one form or another adopted these norms. He cited the example of Tanzania, Kenya and others, where elections are conducted with consideration to ethnic and political affiliations.

Akinyemi also said the interrelationship between African politics, democracy and ethnicity is a very complex one. According to him, the major factor affecting those issues is their international presence.

“There is no evidence to suggest that African governments have not been sincere in addressing the issues, even in the face of clear evidence of the continuing crisis posed by the issues.

“Africa was lucky that in the 60s to the 70s, the United Nations and the world were hostile to fractionalization and to that extent subscribed to the doctrine of uti posidetis, which provided the breathing space for emerging African States to consolidate its independence and territorial integrity”, he declared.

AELEX founding partner, Theo Emuwa said the firm is poised to chart the path to economic development of the country through the annual lectures.

Also, Soji Awogbade, a founding partner said improving the quality of the lectures in order to ensure that they are meaningful has become a challenge to them due to competitors. He said the issues raised in the lecture are quite topical and expressed the view that government would adopt the solutions proffered by the gathering.

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