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POLITICAL SCIENCE

POLITICAL PARTIES AND DEMOCRATIC DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA

PARTIES AND DEMOCRATIC DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA

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POLITICAL PARTIES AND DEMOCRATIC DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

The concept of democracy has achieved international recognition as the most widely accepted form of administration. The appeal for freedom and democracy reverberates over the world like thunder. The global acceptance of “liberal democracy” as a major vehicle for achieving peaceful coexistence in a multifaceted society,

promoting economic development, individual liberty, human rights restoration, the rule of law, and the freedom of healthy competition in global sociopolitical activities has necessitated the pursuit of democratic development, particularly in societies such as ours that have experienced dictatorship over the years.

Over the years, the globe has seen a paradigm shift in governance systems, from authoritarian systems in which the “ruler” rules without the agreement of the “ruled” to systems in which the “ruled” are mainly considered “subjects.”

In a democratic system in which the “governed” pick their leaders through elections, the governed are referred to be citizens rather than the former.

The truth is that the state is no longer interested in associating with other states that do not practise democracy. It follows that any country seeking to be relevant in the global system must be viewed as democratically compliant (Omotola, 2008). African states are not excluded from this evolution.

According to some study, the reasons for supporting democracy in Africa, particularly Nigeria, do not reflect Western perceptions of democracy, but rather focus on economics rather than political philosophy (Saliu, ). Thus, global acknowledgment of democracy opened the ground for the rebirth of democratic in Nigeria on May 29, 1999.

The struggle for democratic administration in Nigeria during the military era is nearly identical to the anti-colonial struggle, because both promoters and supporters of democracy in Nigeria were deeply motivated and dedicated before the changeover took place. Many died in the process, and some were even jailed,

while those who escaped fled into exile in another nation (Saliu, 2004). For example, Chief M.K.O Abiola died in prison, and Prof. Wole Soyinka was detained but eventually released. Now that democracy has become a “public good” in Nigeria, legitimate institutions must preserve the system.

This viewpoint makes democratic development and sustainability relevant. Thus, democracy requires, among other things, supportive structures such as political parties.

According to Coleman and Roseberg (1966), political parties are associations formally organised with the explicit and declared purpose of acquiring and/or maintaining legal control,

either alone or in coalition for electoral competition with other similar associations, over the personnel and policy of the government of an actual or prospective sovereign state.

Political parties play an important role in the democratisation of any nation. The cardinal and strategic functions of this all-important and essential organ of democratisation, which is fundamental to its evolution, are central to the successes and failures of electoral politics.

These political parties will act as mediating institutions, resolving conflicts in ideas, interests, and perceptions of current political issues (Omotola, 2008). The reality remains that “the strength and effectiveness of political parties is directly proportional to the degree of democracy's resilience” (Mimiko, ).

This study is concerned with political parties and democratic development in Nigeria, as well as the extent to which parties contribute to the survival and development of democracy in Nigeria, with a focus on Nigerian elections from 2006 to 2014,

with an emphasis on general elections during that time period. Nigeria has a multi-party system, with two or three major parties and a successful third party in the elections.

The PDP and APC continue to be Nigeria's strongest political parties. The All Progressives Congress (APC) is a political party in Nigeria that was founded on February 6, 2013 in preparation for the elections.

Muhammadu Buhari, the APC candidate, won the presidential election by over 2.6 million votes. Incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan conceded

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