Intra-Party Democracy and Political Instability in Nigeria

Topics: Democracy, Communist state, Elections Pages: 11 (3714 words) Published: July 15, 2013
Nigerians began their latest democratic experiment with a weak legacy of institutions and democratic practices. The military-crafted constitution included many unfamiliar provisions, the new legislature contained a large number of political newcomers, and the emerging political parties lacked strong constituencies. The transition polls, hastily prepared through untested election machinery, were shadowed by widespread irregularities. However, Nigerians were anxious for the departure of the military and there was broad public acceptance of the election results. However, the trend that has characterize her elections, has cast doubt over a political stable Nigeria. Thus, this paper argues that the political instability adherent in Nigeria today, is a reflection of the lack of internal democracy that has characterize Nigeria’s political parties.

Political parties are by all standards one of the most outstanding and distinguishing elements of any democracy. Thus, democracy is unthinkable in the absence of viable political parties arguably; the pertinent institution in a democracy is the political party. Thus, the major focus of this paper will be to critically examine the recruitment system in Nigeria’s political party and see how democratic it is and how it has affected her political stability. The paper is thus, divided into three sections: Section one will focus on clarification/conceptualization of concepts Section two will focus on party primaries in Nigeria, and its implication on Nigeria’s political stability. And section three will be conclusion and recommendations.

CONCEPTUALIZING POLITICAL PARTY: According to Wikipedia, “A political party is a political organization that typically seeks to influence, or entirely control, government policy usually by nominating candidates with aligned political views and trying to seat them in political office”. The above implies that, it is only political parties that have the right to contest in an election, consequently, no other organization have the right to context in an election. According to the 1999 constitution as amended section 221 provides that No association, other than a political party shall canvass for votes for any candidate at any election or contribute to the funds of any political party or to the election expenses of any candidate at an election. In section 229, of the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria as amended further went forward to define what a political party is. According to it, “Political party” includes any association whose activities include canvassing, for votes in support of a candidate for election to the office of President, Vice-President, Governor, Deputy Governor or membership of a legislative house or of a local government council. For the purpose of this paper, the above definition of a political party will be adopted. This is because, it suits the context we are to use it in i.e. (Nigeria). LIST OF POLITICAL PARTIES IN NIGERIA (As of March 13, 2013) •Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD)

Action Congress of Nigeria (CAN)
Alliance for Democracy (AD)
African Democratic Congress (ADC)
All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP)
All Peoples Party (APP)
African Renaissance Party (ARP)
Conscience People’s Congress (CPC)
Communist Party of Nigeria (CPN)
Congress for Progressive Changes (CPU)
Democratic Alternative (DA)
Democratic People’s Party (DPP)
Democratic Socialist Movement(DMS)
Fresh Democratic Party (FDP)
Labor Party (LP)
Masses Movement of Nigeria (MMN)
National Democratic Party (NDP)
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
Progressive People’s Alliance (PPA)
Peoples Progressive Party (PPP)
Peoples Redemption Party (PRP)
Peoples Salvation Party (PSP)
Social Democratic Mega Party ( SDMP)
Socialist Workers League (SWL)
United Nigeria Peoples Party (UNPP)
United Progressive Party (HPP)
(Source: Wikipedia: the free...
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