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THE ROLE OF POLITICAL PARTIES IN DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT IN NIGERIA, THE FOUTH REPUBLIC

(Political Science)

THE ROLE OF POLITICAL PARTIES IN DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT IN NIGERIA, THE FOUTH REPUBLIC

CHAPTER ONE

1.1    Background of the study

        Democratic governance with its ideal of elective representation, freedom of choice of leaders, role of law, freedom of expression, accountability e.t.c has become the acceptable system of government all over the world. It is a form a government in which the supreme power of a political community rest on popular sovereignty. According to Oyovbaire (1987) democracy as a system of government seeks to realize a generally recongised common good through a coolective initiation and discussion of policy questions concerning public affairs and which delegate authority to agent to implement the broads decisions made by the people through majority vote. Thus, in contemporary times, democracy has been referred to as the expression of popular will of the political community through elected representative. The contemporary democracy according to Rapheal (1976) rest on representatives government. Democratic governance in Nigeria has been a different things when compared to what is obtainable in other part of the world. The respect for human right and rule of law which are the main features of democracy are not visible especially between 1999 and 2007; election rigging and gangsterism is the order of the day that one can hardly differentiate between democratic government and autocracy.

        In modern societics, political parties are very essential to political process. They have become veritable instrument or adjunct of democracy in any democratic system.

        Political parties are not only instrument for capturing political power, but they are also vehicle for the aggregation of interests and ultimate satisfaction at such interests through the control of government. Obviously political parties are crucial to the substanance of democtratic governance. As Agbaje (1999) note that the extents to which political parties aggregate accountability, represent and organize determines the level of accountability in public life including access to and use of power as well as political performance. Merkel (1977:99) summarized the basic functions of political parties as follows:

  • Recruitment and selection of leadership personnel for government offices.
  • Generation of programmes and policies of government.
  • Co-ordination and control of government organ.
  • Social integration through satisfaction and reconciliation of group demands or the provision of common belief system or ideology.
  • Social integration of individuals by moboilization of support and by socialization.

Generally, political parties are very essential to democratic governance. It constitute a central instrument of democratic governance. It provides the means of promoting accountability, collective action, popular participation, inclusiveness, legitimacy and accountability through the intrefration of their completing principles, ideologies and goals for eventual control of the government in the state. Political parties are the intermediate institution mediating the affairs of both the peoples and personnel and agencies that exercise state power.

        In Nigeria, the political parties usually are formed along ethnic, cultural, geo-political and religious lines. In everyday activities of government one notices the fostering of primordial loyalties such as ethnic sensivity and overt provision of other selfish political tendencies as a result, the political class has always remained benefit of viable political   ideology on which the nation`s has reduced party politics to a broad and bother game where monetization of political process is the bedrock of loyalty and support. This has eroded the aim of the democratic system.

        Since, military disengaged from political power in may 1999, the PDP has dominated governance in Nigeria. After eight years of the party in governance which earned the result and admiration of the most Nigeria electorates at the polls due to its programmes and policies, the party is loathed in the country. The average Nigeria encounters frustration, disillusionment, and psycho moral dislocation owing to the failure of the Peoples Democratic party (PDP) government  to device expected dividends at democracy.

        The task of its research is to examine the role of the ruling political parties governance in Nigeria`s fourth republic.

1.2    statement of problem

        The emergence of democratic governance in Nigeria political system in 1999 was a land mark in the political development of Nigeria. After fifteen years of persistent dictatorship, the return of democracy was received with pump and peagentry by civil societies, labour union, civil rights organization etc. hope was very high in the area of human right which are completely absent during the dictatorship rule.

        It was expected that the dividend of democracy would be realized through the political parties which are the means through the politican reach the public and make their promises and manifestoes available to the people.

        These research therefore focuses on investigating the role of Nigerian political parties in democratic governance since 1999-2007 with emphasis on PDP. The investigation would be guided by the following research questions:

  1. How does the circumstances leading to the emergence and formation of political parties impact on internal democracy in the political parties.
  2. Did the programme enhance democratic governance in Nigeria in the forth republic.
  3. How were these programmes implemented to provide good governance to the people of Nigeria?

1.3    objectives of the study

        The purpose of the study is to highlight the role  of political parties in democratic government in Nigeria, the fouth republic as a case study.

The study will critically analysis the issues as follows;

  1. To examine the circumstance leading to the formation of political party and its impact on internal democracy of the party.
  2. To examine the pragrammes of the party with a view of establishing their relevance to democratic governance.
  3. To determine whether these programmes and policies were implemented with a view to enhance democratic governance.

1.4    significant of the study

        This work has two aspect of significance: firstly, it will theoretically increase the existing body of knowledge in the scholarship on political parties and democratic governance in Nigeria.

        Secondly, the research will practically be of immense values to political leaders and policy makers in Nigeria and will also enlighten the masses on responsibility of parties in democratic governance by so doing, it will go a long way in providing practical solution to some of the problems of political parties in Nigeria democratic system.

        Equally, the study will serve as a contribution to the measures to be taken to enhance sustainable democracy in Nigeria.

        Finally, the study will serve as a motivation for further inquiry in the area of political parties and governance in Nigeria.

1.5    Research Hypothesis

  1. The circumstance leading to emergence and formation of political parties tended to undermine internal democracy and national development in Nigeria.
  2. Some programme of political parties tended to be anti-democratics.
  3. The implementation of political parties in the forth republic seems not to promote good governance.

1.6    Scope of the study

        The scope of this study will cover essentially the role of political parties in democratic governance in Nigeria fourth republic.

1.7    Methodology

        The methodology adopted in the study is a blend of historical descriptive and analytical  research methods. The historical research will allow us to describes the antecedent and precedents from the past and present and learn from them which can be purely factual and descriptive. This means invariably the source of the data will be mainly library research and content analysis. This library will involve the use of relevant political parties and democratic governance in Nigeria forth republic and other relevant books on the study.

1.8    Definition of terms

  1. Political party by definition is an organized group of citizens, who act together as a political, unit, having common goals and objectives involving political questions in the state and acting together and seeking to obtain control of government.
  2. Polities: is the activities that involves in getting and using power in public life, and being able to influence decisions that affects a country or society.
  3. Democracy is a system of government by the majority.

Democracy is defined as a form of government in which people exercise their governing power either directly or through representatives periodically elected by them.

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