party politics/ manifestoes

Topics: Democracy, Political party, Politics Pages: 25 (6452 words) Published: January 22, 2014
Research in Business and Management Vol.1(2), pp. 54-61 , August, 2012 Available online at
ISSN: 2026-6804 ©2012 International Research Journals

Full Length Research Paper

Party System, Democratization and National
Development in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic: An
Appraisal of the Interconnections
Dhikru Adewale Yagboyaju
Department of Political Science, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. E-mail:

The party system, obviously an integral part of democracy and the developmental process of any country, which embraces the liberal form of democracy, seems not to have attracted sufficient attention from political actors as well as academic researchers since 1999 when civil rule returned to Nigeria. In view of this, and particularly the usefulness of the parts system in the determination as to whether democracy deserves the kind of concerted and conscious efforts needed to put it in place, this study becomes necessary. In the light of this, the paper shall attempt a critical appraisal of the party system in Nigeria’s thirteen-year old fledging democracy. In what ways, for instance, have the formation, operation and the funding of the activities of the major political parties affected democratic consolidation and overall development in Nigeria since 1999? What about inter and intra-party relationships as well as their effects on the country’s political processes? Of what effects were the country’s experience with prolonged military rule and the probable “hang-over” of elements of military mentality even after more than a decade of democratization? In attempting to proffer answers and explanations, the paper shall adopt a historical, descriptive and analytical research methodology. It adopts an eclectic framework of analysis, which combines several explanations on the effects of state malformation, structural imbalance and materialist contradictions on the success of democratization in Nigeria. Finally, with examples of best practices drawn from across developed and developing democracies, the paper shall make suggestions on the way forward for the party system in Nigeria as well as the development of the country’s entire political process. Keywords. Party system, democracy, Nigeria

It is perhaps most appropriate to liken the relationship
between political parties and the sustenance of
democratic rule in a particular society to that which exists between the umbilical cord and the foetus. This is
essentially because the former, whose operations and
other activities constitute the party system, provides the
lifeline for the latter. In other words, the party system,
which is “a network of relationships through which
political parties interacts and influences the political

process”, is an aspect of the democratization process
whose importance cannot be overemphasized (Agbaje,
1999:198). Therefore, its well-being and functionality
largely determines the outcome of the entire political
Remarkably, in Nigeria’s thirteen-year old Fourth
Republic, the party system has witnessed the realization
of some tangible goals. These include the evident
liberalization of the political space, which culminated in


the registration of more than sixty political parties, and
the conduct of three “successful” civilian transition
programmes. Indeed, this is an unprecedented
achievement in the history of democratization in Nigeria’s more than fifty years of political independence. However,
this is yet to enhance several other features of
democratic rule and, ultimately, sustainable development
in the country despite its thirteen unbroken years of civil
Why, for instance, does Nigeria’s party system lack so
much in terms of ideological prop despite the large
number of political parties? What accounts for the
absence of a robust opposition as well as viable
alternative paradigms for the development of the...

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