Umar Damagum made the call when two civil society groups, International Republican Institute and Kimpact Development Initiative, paid him a courtesy visit at the Party’s secretariat, Wadata House on Thursday in Abuja.
While noting that the first assignment he did when he came into office was to revitalize the Peoples Democratic Institute (PDI) to enable researchers’ interface and build capacity, the acting chairman said What we lack today is the capacity to institutionalize democracy.
“We should not only be democratic as per governance, but we must also create institutions where Nigerians can research into making democracy a success and building capacity.
We are still in the learning process after all these years of democracy. I think that should have been enough time for us as a country to develop our democracy, but still we have not gotten it right”
Umar Damagum said the only party in the country that is working to institutionalize democracy in Nigeria is the Peoples Democratic Party.
“All we have done as a party is to make democracy stay. This thing is hardly done in Africa; but because we believe in democracy, we are doing all we can to sustain it”.
He further said he will be proud to say that PDP has already established the tenet of democracy which is a role model for political parties across Africa.
Speaking earlier, the Resident Program Director of the International Republican Institute, Santiago Stocker said the Nigeria political parties have a critical role to play in the country’s democracy.
Stocker said his Institute is very interested in the idea of working with parties to improve their ability to develop policy and build capacity through training and research.
“The parties are more important now than ever, because the way the parties operate reflects in the overall process of democracy. And so when we improve the parties, we invariably improve the process of democracy”, he noted.
On her part, Uwaila Omosigho, Program Officer, Kimpact Development Initiative, said their visit was to canvas for woman inclusion in leadership positions, noting that the 2023 general elections recorded a decline in the number of women that won elective positions as compared to the 2019 elections.
Reacting to her, the acting chairman said the only political party in Nigeria that has encouraged women participation in politics is PDP.
“We are the only party in this country that has actually encouraged women in politics; and you can attest to that. I’m not blowing my trumpet. It’s the reality.
We have a great task in our hands, and as a party we will continue to encourage more women”, he added.
He however called on the women to ensure that they participate in politics.