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Party systems can be identified as patterns of interaction among political parties in electoral, parliamentary and governmental arenas of a given political context. Political Parties are organizations that mobilize voters on behalf of a common set of interests, concerns, and goals (Microsoft Encarta 2009).

In many nations, parties play a crucial role in the democratic process. They formulate political and policy agendas, select candidates, conduct election campaigns, and monitor the work of their elected representatives.

Political parties link citizens and the government, providing a means by which people can have a voice in their government. Democracy in the developed and developing continents today was given birth to as a result of embracing party systems in politics; Nigeria has chosen democracy as her political administrative principle.

Party system can also be referred to as a political order in which the formation, mobilization and contestations of political parties is a means of constituting political orders in a democratic country. In comparative political science literature, scholars have defined party system as consisting of effective groupings of a society’s politically dynamic agent for the sole purpose of controlling the apparatuses of government (Nwankwo, 1982).

Thus, a key organization in a party system is political party, which Johari (1989:4) quoted Edmund Burke, a renowned English scholar, to have defined as „a body of men united for promoting the national interest on some particular principles in which they are all agreed‟.

The foregoing liberal view has however been countered by the realist views, mainly from American extractions who opined that it is deceptive to attach pointless significance to „principles‟ of national or public interest the important thing is that a party, among others, is primarily an assemblage or machinery for partaking in the struggle for power; a medium for suing for and securing public offices through legitimate and popular means; and an agency for fulfilling political ambitions and securing supports and votes from the electorates at the time of elections.

Party systems constitute an important and veritable mechanism in the democratization process and democratic governance of any political system is incontestable (Musa Yusuf 2005). As a mechanism by which the ruling class consolidates its hold on state power however, the nature and function of party systems tend to conform to the interests of the ruling class in the survival of its system of domination.

In the attempt to consolidate its hold on state power, the ruling class and indeed the politicians tend to use political parties and party systems to maintain their grip on political power at all costs. This has had serious devastating consequences which are better imagined.

Though political parties vary in terms of their structures and functions, whether in the system of bourgeois (conventional) democracy or that of people’s democracy, however the way and manner the ruling class and politicians use political parties to get or maintain their hold on power appears to be the same (Musa Yusuf 2005).

The process of democratization and political development will address the issues about Nigeria’s democratic project. First, the trend in political development which informs mobilization of the diversity of a plural society which rooted from the colonial rule, Nigeria as a case study in Africa was colonized by the British through the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern protectorate of 1914. This historical antecedent had established the socio-political and economic relations more complex in the federation of the country.

The restoration of democratic government in 1999 led to a new approach to party politics in Nigeria. The procedure for registering political parties was liberalized, thereby, opening up the political space for mass participation in political activities in the country.

Today, there are more than fifty registered political parties in Nigeria, even though only few of them have not been able to win any election. The few political parties that have dominated the political space to the point that fears are being expressed that the country was drifting towards a one-party state. Opposition parties are beginning to cross to the ruling party both at the federal and states levels.

Nigeria, like many other African countries, has had its fair share of democratic challenges, but it has also recorded some achievement over the years. There have already been calls across the country for some adjustments and improvements on the way political parties are run and managed, in the years to come.

Many have argued that Nigeria must necessarily adopt the methods that will guarantee the rights of its citizens to elect leaders of their choice as provided for in the country’s constitution.

As Nigeria consolidate its democratic framework and mechanisms, the party system in Nigeria, need to exemplify a new level of commitment to the yearnings and aspirations of the people for more fundamental and sustainable political development.

The crucial role political parties’ plays in the overall political development and wellbeing of a state, especially in culturally diverse and variegated societies cannot be overstated. The significance of political parties goes beyond the mere utilitarian function of contesting and capturing or retaining political power.

Party systems are necessary and crucial institution in the construction of a stable and participatory political order as well as serving as an instrument for interest aggregation and channeling disparate social groupings into a common socio political platform, thus providing a stabilizing effect to an otherwise fractions society (Cited in Amusan 2011).


In Nigerian political party system, politicians see politics as a do-or-die game and thus they play it through the manipulation of political parties which is seriously lamentable. They employ all means at their disposal to “win” power most especially through varying degrees of electoral malpractices and political intimidation thereby slowing the political development of Nigeria.

Electoral malpractice is inevitable when there is malpractice in the party systems. In the revolution of “change”, and political development of Nigeria all these must be critically looked into and a positive solution should be proffered (Nnoli O. 1992).

Furthermore, in a party system, political party being the main tool of political development in every existing political system and irrespective of their various ideological bends, different political orientations and victory potentials, they are still allowed to partake in political competition for the control of machinery of government and also uniting of the people.

In every modern society, political parties are viewed to be an agent of unity, peace and integration etc. in that society, but despite the above conception, party system still holds some questions that deviate from the above and put a dent on Nigeria’s political development.


The main aim of the research is to examine party system and Nigeria political development. Other specific objectives include:

1. to determine the relationship between party system and Nigeria political development.

2. to examine the different types of party system in Nigeria.

3. to evaluate the effect of party system on Nigeria political development.

4. to examine the challenges to Nigeria political development.

5. to proffer solution to the challenges to Nigeria political development.


1. What is the relationship between party system and Nigeria political development?

2. What are the different types of party system in Nigeria?

3. What is the effect of party system on Nigeria political development?

4. To examine the challenges to Nigeria political development?

5. What is the solution to the challenges to Nigeria political development?


1. H0: there is no significant relationship of party system and Nigeria political development.

2. H1: there is a significant relationship of party system and Nigeria political development.


The study will be significant in the following ways:

Firstly, it will help decision, policy makers and institutions to determine the basis for political party formation in Nigeria in order to achieve National integration and political development.

Secondly, invaluably, it will contribute to academic knowledge as regards to function of political parties to political development. It will also help in creating awareness and inspire a sense of responsibility on members of political party on the role expected of them to achieve good governance and political development.

Lastly, the findings of the study will be use by other researchers for further study on party system and Nigeria development or other related research topic.


The scope of study will cover party system and Nigeria political development.



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1. 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).

2. 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.


Party system: A party system is a concept in comparative political science concerning the system of government by political parties in a democratic country.

Political development: political development can be defined as an increase in national political unity and an increase in political participation.

Political party: A political party is an organized group of people who have the same ideology, or who otherwise have the same political positions, and who field candidates for elections, in an attempt to get them elected and thereby implement the party’s agenda.





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