1.1 Background of the Study
Multiparty political system in Nigeria started with the introduction of elective principle in 1922 Clifford constitution. At the inception of party politics in 1923 precisely 24 June, Nigerian parties had very limited and self-serving objectives which was buying of legitimacy for the colonial government (Omotola, 2009). In 1923 the Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP) emerged, in 1934 the Nigerian Youth Movement (NYM), the National Council of Nigeria and Cameron (NCNC), in 1959 Northern People Congress (NPC), 1950 Action Group (AG), and in 1951 Northern Element Progressive Union (NEPU). These parties dominated the political landscape in the country towards independence.
At independence, Nigeria practice a parliamentary system of government and multi-party system, in which 30 parties were formed (Junaidu, 2011). The system of government since then has been presidential. But change in political system contributed insignificantly to political stability and sound democratic cultural as regional crisis, ethno-regional upheavals continued. Multiparty has been predominant in Nigeria’s political history and insecurity or political abuses have also been in the rise. It was expected that by opening the space for political competition it would contribute to mitigating electoral crisis or development challenges in the country but the reverse is the case as political parties are seen as by product of elites, groups and individual interest (Elaigwu, 2013). Presently political parties are more of instruments being employed in order to have a share of the “national cake” rather than to articulate and organize people for electoral positions. This explained why out of over 60 political parties that exist in Nigeria less than one-third present candidate for elections. As many of these parties only exist in the houses of their founders. These parties have only existed to the extent they enjoy monetary subvention from the government (Olufemi, 2001). It is therefore in line with the foregoing background that the researcher wishto examine the variables responsible for the sustenance of democracy through multi-party system in Nigeria.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Multi-party political system are generally regarded as the most reliable system for the cultivation, development and institutionalization of democracy. But this seems the opposite in the Nigerian context taking into cognizance the level of ethno-religious and regional conflict that have dominated the polity since independence. The more political space is open to accommodate new parties the more the level of party manipulation, election rigging and youth recklessness. This openness is associated with killings, high level of political intolerance and division in the country. Political parties are vital organization in democracy and democracy is stronger when citizens become active members of political parties. German Neristics of political parties such as high level of institutionalization a localized level of candidate nomination, high level of women working at internal party offices and the presence of formal rules designed to increased the number of women in elected offices are vital for the deepening and sustenance of democracy. Nigeria’s democratic culture is characterized by factors such as; assassinations, lawlessness, illegalities rigging oppression, manipulation, marginalization and violence. Other factors include; male dominated party politics, money politics and numerous social, cultural, and religious issues.
Consequently, parties have found it extremely difficult to emphasize politics of issues. Lastly, the situation has remained unchanged as parties rarely discuss topical matters and observation has it that competitive party and electoral policies under the military and democratic transitions were intended to (a) facilitate internal democracy within the party nomination primaries and the establishment of a party bureaucracy, involving a distribution between career politicians and party technocrats (b) engender a new democratic political culture through encouraging and nuturingthe emergence of a “new breeds” of politician, with a more positive and system supporting orientation of politics (c) emphasize issue-based or ideological differentiate to distinguish one party from the other and to de-emphasize the personalization of political parties and (d) bring about accountability and transparency in the sourcing and spending of party financing. Political parties in line with the objective of the existence must play fundamental role in sustaining democracy in pluralistic society like Nigeria. This notwithstanding, it does seem that the extent to which multi-party system has bring about sustainability of democracy in Nigeria has not been evident. Therefore the research focuses on investigating the role of multi-party system in the sustenance of democracy since 2011-2017. This will be guided by the following research questions:
Does the existence of multi-party system ensures sustenance of democracy in Nigeria?To what extent has multi-party system provided greater opportunity for citizens participation in the democratic process in Nigeria?How has the role of multi-party system aided sustainable democracy in Nigeria.ROLE OF MULTI-PARTY SYSTEM IN THE SUSTENANCE OF DEMOCRACY IN NIGERIA BETWEEN 2011-2017