THE ROLE OF POLITICAL PARTIES IN CONSOLIDATION OF DEMOCRACY IN NIGERIA
ABSTRACTThis study explored the role of political parties in consolidation of democracy in Nigeria with particular references to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressive Congress (APC). The study was theoretically framed on Elite Theory as propounded by Pareto and Mosca (1968). The study adopted qualitative approach and it relied mainly on secondary data which were sourced from textbooks, newspapers, magazines, journals, internet from archives of Lagos State University library. The result of the study showed that the activities of political parties are encroaching on democratic consolidation in Nigeria; and that inter-party crisis has a significant effect on the democratic process in Nigeria. The study recommended that all the political parties especially the All Progressive Congress (APC) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) need to be re-organized on the principle of all inclusiveness rather than exclusion, party officials’ needs to be trained to carry out their functions.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Consolidating Nigerian democracy through the functioning of political parties has remained an albatross. The history of Nigeria’s democratic experiments demonstrates that elections and political parties have generated so much animosity which has, in some cases, threatened the corporate existence of the country, such as happened after the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election and in other cases instigated military incursion in to political governance, most notably in 1966 and 1983. At the heart of electoral crisis in Nigeria is the lack of credibility for the official results of elections leading to the rejection of such results by the opposition political parties.
Since the inauguration of the Fourth Republic, a pattern is already emerging which points to the fact that political elites have not learnt much from the mistakes of the past. The various crises plaguing the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the annals of defections in the National Assembly, cross carpeting of governors, lack of internal democracy among others are vivid instances of this tendency. Lack of party discipline continues to feature prominently in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressive Congress (APC) political parties. This action ends up heating up the polity; a situation that portends dangers to democratic consolidation in Nigeria. This danger has resulted to the high level of political abduction, harassment, arson, and assassinations, withdrawal of credible and qualified professionals in the race. It is against this backdrop that this study seeks to examine the role of political parties in consolidation of democracy in Nigeria.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The major objective of the study is to examine the relationship between political parties and democratic consolidation in Nigeria. Other specific objectives are:
1) To examine the relationship between political parties and democratic consolidation in Nigeria.
2) To examine the effect of intra-party crisis on the democratic process.
3) To investigate the effect of party-members defections on democratic deepening in Nigeria.
4) To interrogateif lack of internal democracy by the PDP and APC is affecting the sustenance of democracy in Nigeria.
5) To extrapolatethe challenges of consolidating democracy in Nigeria.