POLITICAL PARTIES AND DEMOCRTIC DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA (A STUDY OF 20…
POLITICAL PARTIES AND DEMOCRTIC DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA
(A STUDY OF 2007 – 2015 ELECTIONS IN NIGERIA)
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The concept democracy has gained world recognition as the most accepted system of government. The call for freedom and democracy echoes like a thunder across the globe. The global acceptance of ‘ liberal democracy’ as a major vehicle in attaining peaceful co-existence in a multifaceted society, promotion of economic development, individual liberty, human right restoration, rule of law and freedom of healthy competition in global socio-political activities, necessitated the quest for democratic development especially in society like ours that have experienced dictatorship over the years.
The world has experienced a paradigm shift in system of governance over the years form authoritarian system in which the “Ruler” rules without the consent of the “ruled” ,the “ruled are mostly considered as “subjects”, . To a democratic system in which the” governed” choose their leaders via election , the governed are regarded as Citizens as opposed to the former. The fact still remain that state is no longer interested in interacting with other state where democracy is not practiced. It then follows that any country desirous of relevance within the world system must be seen as democratic compliance (Omotola, 2008). African states are not left out in this development. Arguments in some literature indicate that the reasons for supporting democracy in Africa, specifically Nigeria, do not mirror Western perception, but looks more at democracy in economic terms than political ideology (Saliu, 1999). Thus global recognition of democracy eventually paved way for the re-birth of democratic government in Nigeria on May 29, 1999. The struggle for democratic government in Nigeria during military era is almost the same as anti-colonial struggle, because both the promoter and supporter of democracy in Nigeria were highly committed and dedicated before the transition came to reality. In the process of achieving it, many of them lost their life, some were even detained while those who escaped went on exile in another country (Saliu, 2004). For instance, Chief M.K.O Abiola died in prison , also Prof. Wole Soyinka was detained later released from prison. Now that democracy becomes Nigerian “Public good” credible institutions are required to defend the system. It is in this view that democratic development and sustainability become pertinent. Thus, democracy requires among others the supportive structures, such as political parties.
According Coleman and Roseberg(1966), Political parties are associations formally organized with the explicit and declared purpose of acquiring and/ or maintaining legal control, either singly or in coalition for electoral competition with other similar associations over the personnel and the policy of the government of an actual or prospective sovereign state.
Political parties play very critical roles in democratization of any nation. Central to the successes and failures of electoral politics is the cardinal and strategic functions of this all important and an integral organ of democratization which is core to its development. These Political Parties will serve as mediating institutions through which differences in ideas, interests and perceptions of political problems at a given time can be managed (Omotola, 2008). The fact still remain that “the strength and effectiveness of Political Parties is directly proportional to the degree of resilience democracy enjoy” (Mimiko, 2007). It is against this background that this study is concerned with the political parties and democratic development in Nigeria and the extent of party’s contribution to the survival and development of democracy in Nigeria with the focus on 2006 – 2014 elections in Nigeria , with emphases on general elections within the period. Nigeria has a multi-party system, with two or three strong parties and a third party that is electorally successful.
PDP and APC remains the strongest parties in Nigeria . The All Progressives Congress (APC) is a political party in Nigeria, formed on 6 February 2013 in anticipation of the 2015 elections. APC candidate Muhammadu Buhari won the presidential election by almost 2.6 million votes. Incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan conced