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 There is a profound paradox about the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Nigeria. The party, which earned the respect and admiration of most Nigerians, in the period between 1999-2007 due to its politics and policies. This work based on direct study and use of secondary data examines the role of the PDP in governance in the period (1999-2007). The work revealed that the PDP government has grossly been disappointing in its performance in the management of the affairs of the Nigerian state. Thus between 1999-2007, Nigerians have suffered deep crisis of expectation as there had been serious erosion, impairment and debasement of the values of governance as reflected in macro economic instability, widespread corruption, deepening democratic crisis, human rights violations, insecurity, frustration, disillusionment and increasing lost of people‟s confidence in the PDP government. Arising from the foregoing, the work recommended among others ways on how to reorganize the PDP for effective governance in Nigeria. ROLE OF POLITICAL PARTIES IN DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE IN NIGERIA


Table of contents

Title page      –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           -i

Approval page         –           –           –           –           –           –           –           -ii

Dedication –             –           –           –           –           –           –           –           -iii

Acknowledgement –          –           –           –           –           –           –           -iv

Abstract        –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           -v

Table of Contents –             –           –           –           –           –           –           -vi

Chapter One: Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study      –           –           –           –           –          -1-5

1.2 Statement of the Problem –             –           –           –           –          -5-6

1.3 Objectives of the Study         –           –           –           –           –          -7-7

1.4 Significance of the Study      –           –           –           –           –          -7-8

1.5 Literature Review       –           –           –           –           –           –          -8-23

1.6 Theoretical Framework        –           –           –           –           –          -23-25

1.7 Hypothesis        –           –           –           –           –           –           –          -25-25

1.8 Scope and Limitation of Study        –           –           –           –          -25-26

1.9 Method of Data Collection –            –           –           –           –          -26-26

Chapter Two: Emergence of Political Parties in Nigeria

2.1 Historical Overview- –            –           –           –           –           –          -29-43

2.2 Party Organizations –             –           –           –           –           –          -43-44

2.3 Functions of Political Parties in Nigeria     –           –           –          -44-49

Chapter Three: Internal Democracy Role of the PDP

3.1 Candidate Selection/Recruitment Procedures –             –          -50-58

3.2 Party Funding and its Implications on Political Recruitment -58-71

3.3 Political Enlightenment         –           –           –           –           –          -71-77

Chapter Four: The Role Of Pdp In Nigeria as Ruling Party –           -78-82

4.1 The Economic Policy Role of the PDP        –           –           –          -82-87

4.2 The PDP Government and Anti Corruption Policies      –          -88-92

4.3 National Security/Protection of Lives and Properties —          -93-95

4.4 Fundamental Human Rights –          –           –           –           –          -95-96

4.5 Constitutionality of Government –             –           –           –          -96-98


CHAPTER FIVE: Summary of Findings, Conclusion, Recommendations

5.1 Summary of Findings –          –           –           –           –           –          -99-103

5.2 Conclusions       –           –           –           –           –           –           –          -103-104

5.3 Recommendations      –           –           –           –           –           –          -104-106

Bibliography            –           –           –           –           –           –           –           -107-11


Chapter One:


1.1 Background of the study

Democratic governance with its ideal of elective representation, freedom of choice of leaders, rule of law, freedom of expression, accountability etc has become the acceptable system of government all over the world. It is a form of 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 recognized common good through a collective initiation and discussion of policy questions concerning public affairs and which delegat authority to agent to implement the broad 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 representatives. The contemporary democracy according to Raphael (1976) rest on representative government.

Democratic governance in Nigeria has been a different thing when compared to what is obtainable in other part of the world. The respect for human right and the rule 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 societies, 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 vehicles for the aggregation of interests and ultimate satisfaction of such interests through the control of government. Obviously political parties are crucial to the sustenance of democratic governance. As Agbaje (1999) notes that the extent to which political parties aggregate freely, articulate, 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:

  1. Recruitment and selection of leadership personnel for government offices
  2. Generation of programmes and policies for government
  3. Coordination and control of governmental organs
  4. Social integration through satisfaction and reconciliation of group demands or the provision of common belief system or ideology
  5. Social integration of individuals by mobilization of support and by socialization

Generally, political parties are very essential to democratic governance. It constitutes a central instrument of democratic governance. It provides the means of promoting accountability, collective action, popular participation, inclusiveness, legitimacy and accountability through the integration of their competing 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 people 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 projection of other selfish political tendencies as a result, the political class has always remained bereft of viable political ideology on which the nation’s political future could be anchored. The bankruptcy in ideology and vision has reduced party politics to a bread and butter 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 government which earned the respect and admiration of most Nigerian 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 deliver the expected dividends of democracy.

The task of this research is to examine the role of the ruling PDP in the democratic governance in Nigeria’s fourth republic between (19992007).

1.2 Statement of Problem

The emergence of democratic governance in Nigerian 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 was 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 which the politician reach the public and make their promises and manifestoes available to the people.

This 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 circumstance leading to the emergence and formation of political parties’ impact on internal democracy in the party?
  2. Did the programmes enhance democratic governance in Nigeria between 1999 and 2007?
  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 with the ruling PDP as a case study (1999-


The study will critically analyze 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 programmes of the party with a view of

establishing their relevance to democratic governance.

  1. To determine whether these programmes and policies were implemented with a view to enhance democratic governance.

1.4 Significance 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 value to political leaders and policy makers in Nigeria and will also enlighten and educate 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 Literature Review

A political party can be define as a group of people or an organized group of people who seek to control the government in order to put their ideology or programme into practice . According to Nwankwo (1990), political party can be define as an organized group of individuals seeking to seize power of government in order to enjoy the benefit to be derived from such control. He further opines that a political party exists primarily as an electoral machine for gaining power with coherent philosophy and its deep ideological aim. Therefore, a political party can be summed up as an organized group of people or individuals whose intentions are to control the apparatus of the state if given the opportunity to form government.

Shively (1997) sees political party as a group of officials or would be officials who are linked with a sizeable group of citizens into an organization; the chief object of this organization, is to ensure that its officials attain power or are maintained in power.

Joseph (1979) in his own contribution sees political party as a formal organization whose self conscious primary purpose is to place and maintain in public office persons who will control alone or in coalition the machinery of government.

Heywood (2002) is of the view that a political party is a group of people that is organized for the purpose of winning government power by elections or other means. Heywood points out that four characteristic which usually distinguish parties from other groups are:

  1. Political parties aim to exercise government power by winning political office (small parties may nevertheless use election more to gain a platform than to win power)
  2. Political parties are organized bodies with a formal card carrying membership. This distinguishes them from broader and more diffuse social movement.
  3. Parties typically adopt a broad issue of focus addressing each of the major area of government policy ( small parties, however, may have a single issue focus, thus resembling interest groups)
  4. To varying degrees, parties are united by shared political preferences and a general ideological identity.

In simple language, a political party is a group of persons bounded in policy and opinion in support of a general political cause, which essentially is the pursuit, capture and retention for as long as democratically feasible, of government and it offices. In other words, political party is a group that seeks to elect candidate to public office by supplying them with a label of party identification by which they are known to the electorate. A political party is therefore; at least do three things to its members and on lookers:

  1. It’s a label in the minds of its members and wider public especially the electorate.
  2. It is an organization that recruits and campaign for candidates seeking election and selection into public office.
  3. It is a set of leaders who try to organize and control the legislative and executive branches of government.

A political party therefore, is a group of people and an organization like other group or organization, except it is distinguished from any other group by  its unique objective which in a democratic settings, is seeking control of government through nominating its candidates and presenting its programmes for endorsement via the electoral process in competition with other parties.

Duverger (1964) emphasized that the general development of parties which tends to deviate from the democratic regime and asserts that growing centralization decision making is increasingly diminishing the influence of leaders upon members on the one hand and strengthening the influence of leaders upon members on the other. Again Duverger, is of the view that we are living in totally artificial nation of democracy forged by lawyers on the basis of eighteenth century philosophical utilitarianism, namely; the conception of democracy as government of the people; by the people providing general happiness for the greatest number. In practice the theory ceases to exist because all government tend to be oligarchic, which shows the domination of the greater number by a few. Therefore, democracy must reflect liberty for the people and for all section of the people. The author is right in opening up or revealing this obscure aspect of democratic parties for analysis, the principal objective of this work is not to study the social composition of the parties but their doctrines.

In their contribution to the study, sklar and Whitaker (1963) survey the role of Nigerian political parties in political and territorial integration, two key analytical variables postulated by the editors in the introduction. According to them, the emergency of political parties in Nigeria serves as an additional cleavage to integrated political system. The emergence of political parties and their leaders appear sectional in the approach to national issues and unity since their loyalty flow in the direction of their ethnic groups and regions. Ultimately their loyalty transcends that of the nation and therefore, they seem unable to forge an integrated political system.

In their own contribution to knowledge, Coleman and Rosbergy

(1958) examine the role of political parties in national integration in tropical Africa using the same combination of behaviouralism and structural functionalism as employed by Coleman in his early classes on the background of nationalism in Nigeria. They see the role of political party as instrumental in the functioning and the development of the new African society and the political system of which they are a part. Since Nigeria belong to Africa and has the knowledge that a section of the book contributed by Richard .l. sklar rosbberg’s work is of great importance to us in our presence research. The two scholar opinioned that unlike the relatively stabilize national society of the old, more highly developed countries; there is an almost complete institutional vacuum at the central or national level in the new state of tropical Africa.

Agawal et al (1994). See political party as a voluntary association organized by the persons bound with common interest or aim, which seek to acquire or retain power through the election of it candidate into public office. In modern societies, political parties are distinct from other organization. They rely on permanent structure and organization with define offices and roles which enhance their mobilization of supporters. Also they manifest hierarchical order from the grassroots to the highest level of government. More strikingly, political parties seek to put their candidates into public offices through election in order to realize the conscious objectives, which bond their members.  Political parties have become essential to the development of political process. They have become veritable instrument of democracy. In any democratic system, political parties are not only instruments for capturing political power but they are also vehicle for the aggregation of interest and ultimately the satisfaction of such interests through the control of government.


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