The study was aimed at examining party dominance and democracy in Nigeria, a case study of All Progressive Congress 2015 – 2019. The survey research was used in this study to sample the opinion of respondents. This method involved random selection of respondent who were administered with questionnaires. The target population of the study comprised of members of All progressive Congress of selected areas in Abuja. The questionnaire administered was one hundred and ten (110) copies and one hundred copies retrieved which constitute the sample size. The descriptive and analytical approach was adopted using Chi-square to test and analyze the hypotheses earlier stated. The findings revealed that there is a significant effect of party dominance on democracy in Nigeriaand that Nigerian democracy is indeed endangered by the undemocratic activities of these party leaders. It was therefore concluded from the findings thatalthough the dominant party APC is gradually losing its dominance as evidenced in the composition of the National Assembly and the number of states now in control of the major opposition PDP, the ruling party remains the party in power. It was recommended that two-party system is the solution to enhance efficient electoral process in Nigeria. This is because political parties will conduct their activities in a democratic manner and within the democratic environment such that the best candidate will be voted for, inside the party and not imposed or nominated before such candidate will compete with other party.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Nigeria, on the other hand, like nearly all other African democracies, has a completely presidential administration. The fact that “executive domination and the personification of this supremacy in a single individual is a fundamental fact of political life” (Farrell 2011) is undeniably reinforced by the convergence in the exercise of presidential powers, but democratic results are influenced by institutional settings. Because of the importance of the context of the party structure, which allows executives to maximize authority and assign patronage, and in which parliaments approach the electorate and assert transparency and responsibility, it is critical to supplement existing theoretical expertise with comparable empirical data to explain concrete aspects of democratisation.
Party structures are characterized as patterns of activity among political parties in a given political context's electoral, legislative, and governmental arenas. (Microsoft ® Encarta 2009) Political parties are groups that unite electors on behalf of a shared group of values, issues, and priorities. Parties play an important role in the political process in many countries. They set party and policy goals, choose candidates, run election campaigns, and oversee the actions of their elected leaders. Political parties serve as a conduit between voters and the government, allowing residents to have a say in how their government is run. The adoption of party structures in politics has given rise to democracy in both developed and developing continents; Nigeria has chosen democracy as her national administrative concept. Party structures are a vital and verifiable tool in the democratization process, and every party system's democratic government is unquestionable (Musa Yusuf 2005).
Political parties, in principle, are the cornerstone of a representative government. People have the option of electing their members in government by political parties, from the local to the national level. Herbert Macaulay created the Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP) in 1923, making it the first political party to arise in Nigeria under British colonial rule. Nigeria's national development has progressed since 1960. There was a legislative form of government in effect between 1960 and 1966. Nigeria's first republic, which lasted from 1960 to 1966, was overthrown by the military on January 15, 1966. Between 1966 and 1979, the country was steered by successive military regimes. General Olusegun Obasanjo (rtd) handed over authority to Alhaji Shehu Shagari, a newly elected President, in 1979. Nigeria's second republic (1979-1983) came to an end suddenly on December 31, 1983, when a military junta headed by General Muhammudu Buhari (rtd) seized over. General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd), his successor, launched the failed third republic, which dissolved after the annulment of the June 12, 1993 election, which was thought to have been won by business mogul MKO Abiola. On August 27, 1993, the country was embroiled in severe political turmoil, forcing Babangida out of office. Babangida formed the Interim National Government (ING) under the leadership of Chief Ernest Shonekan. General Abacha took power and governed until his death on June 8, 1998, after the ING lasted just 82 days. With the election of Olusegun Obasanjo as President of Nigeria in 1999, his replacement, General Abdulsalami Abubarkar (rtd), ushered in the fourth republic. Nigeria has been a democratic country without interruption since 1999.
In a democracy, one-party dominance does not fit the “usual” or “anticipated” trend of party rivalry. The condition is essentially considered as anomalous in political societies in the few current studies on one-party control. Despite free electoral competition, comparatively transparent information processes, protection for civil rights, and the freedom of free political association, a single party has continued to dominate alone or as the dominant and on-going partner in coalitions for prolonged stretches of time in these countries, as Pempel (1990) puts it.
One-party domination, according to Pempel (1990), is “exceptionally unusual, requiring a serendipitous congruence of initiative and chance.” The high number of one-party-dominant regimes among Africa's young democracies is all the more extraordinary because of this rarity. Because of the high concentration of such regimes, the African continent is an especially important place to research one-party supremacy in democracies from a comparative standpoint. The one-party-dominant multiparty system's uniqueness is investigated as part of the democratic process.
In a legislative system with a proportional representation electoral system, a one-party ruling system is more likely to enhance wider and optimal electoral representation than in a presidential system with a first past-the-post electoral system (plurality system). While consolidated support could result in representation under a plurality system as well, Nigeria's lower level of legitimacy typically precludes such possibilities.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
There is needfor Nigeria to go beyond one-party dominance and its deleterious consequences for democracy. Premised on the naïve notion that political leaders should be motivated by the higher goal of advancing the public interest rather than self-interest – ascribes to political leaders too much prescience in correctly anticipating political outcomes, as well as exaggerated political capacities to take actions that consistently produce those outcomes. Consequently, it fails to recognise that while political leadership is extremely important in the formation and development of political parties, it is a strategic activity constrained by both the social context of politics and the actions of other political leaders. Political parties, in other words, are not formed in a vacuum by the unfettered actions of disembodied political actors; nor do party systems evolve inexorably from pre-existing social structures. That is, historically mediated social structures define the nature, number and type of social cleavages (class, region, religion, ethnicity) that form the potential (and not the inevitable) basis for defining political interest, organising collective political action and mobilising electoral support.
A more nuanced approach that draws attention to the contingencies which shape the choices and behaviour of rational and self-interested political actors, and how these choices and behaviours impact the formation of political parties and the development of party systems need to be examined. Such an approach also helps to derive a better understanding of the relationship between party system dominance and democracy. This relationship is inevitably deleterious – a treatment that is premised on an undifferentiated conception of dominant party systems. However, dominant party systems are not all alike. That a dominant party system, and especially one dominated by a single party, poses a serious challenge to democracy cannot be gainsaid; but an assessment of the exact nature of this challenge and especially the putative deleterious consequences of dominant party systems for democracy – requires an approach that helps to distinguish among dominant party systems. The implications of this distinction for understanding the more general relationship between dominant party systems and democracy will be discussed in this research.
1.3. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major aim of the study is to evaluate party dominance and democracy in Nigeria. Other specific objectives are as follows;
- To examine the development of party dominance in Nigeria
- To examine the causes of party dominance in Nigeria
- To examine the effects of party dominance on Nigeria's democracy
- To examine the relationship between party dominance and democracy in Nigeria
- To recommend ways of making Nigeria's democracy, invariably lead to national governance in Nigeria.
1.4. RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- How is the development of party dominance in Nigeria?
- What are the causes of party dominance in Nigeria?
- What is the effect of party dominance on Nigeria's democracy?
- What is the relationship between party dominance and democracy in Nigeria?
- What are the recommended ways of making Nigeria's democracy, invariably lead to national governance in Nigeria?
1.5. RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: There is no significant effect of party dominance on democracy in Nigeria.
H1: There is a significant effect of party dominance on democracy in Nigeria.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This research/study is significant as it aims to provide lasting solution to the problems of party dominance which constitute adverse effects on the democratic process in Nigeria. It is also relevant to researchers, policy makers, practical statesmen, students. The study will also contribute to the body and encourage other writers or researchers to carryout similar work in the field.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is based on party dominance and democracy in Nigeria, a case study of Action Progressive Congress 2015-2019.
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint– Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint– The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Party Dominance: A dominant-party system, or one-party dominant system is a political system in which opposition groups or parties are permitted, but a single party dominates election results.
Political: Relating to government, or the conduct of government, concerned with the making as distinguished from the administration of governmental policy.
Governance: Government and governance are interchangeably used, both denoting the exercise of authority in an organization, institution or state. Government is the name given to the entity.
Political Stability: Relative orderliness within a political system with a correspondent positive economic impact on the citizens.
Democracy: This represents a popularly and constitutionally elected civilian government, which represent the will of the majority and diligently upholds the principles of rule of law and fundamental human right.
Political Party: Is defined as an organised group of people with at least roughly similar political aims and opinions that seeks to influence public policy by getting its candidates elected to public office.
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