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1.1 Background of the Study.

Political parties have typically been the most important intermediary organisation in democratic nations. Students of political parties frequently equate them with democracy itself.

Political parties, as “makers” of democracy, have been romanticised to the point where historians suggest that democracy and democratic societies cannot be thought of without them.

In other words, the existence of active political parties is a prerequisite for democratic consolidation in any society. It is clearly absurd that political parties in Nigeria primarily pursue (and preach) democracy outside the gates while opposing it within (Orji, 2013; Ibeanu, 2013).

Democratic governance, with its ideals of elective representation, freedom of choice of leaders, rule of law, freedom of expression, and accountability, among others, has become the accepted form of government around the world. It is a system of government in which popular sovereignty serves as a political community's ultimate authority.

According to Oyovbaire (1987), democracy is a system of government that seeks to realise a generally recognised common good through the collective initiation and discussion of policy concerning public affairs, and which delegate authority to agents to carry out the broad decisions made by the people via majority vote.

As a result, Osabiya (2015) argued that in modern cultures, political parties are critical to the political process. They have become a true instrument or adjunct to democracy in any democratic society.

Political parties are more than just tools for gaining political power; they are also vehicles for aggregating interests and ultimately satisfying those interests through government control. Obviously, political parties are critical to the survival of democratic governance.

Africa, like the rest of the world, experienced the “third wave of democratisation” in the late twentieth century, when authoritarian regimes and one-party governments were replaced or displaced by elected civilian governments or administrations.

Nigeria, identified by Ette (2013) as one of the continent's dictatorial strongholds, got caught in the wave's snowball effect after twenty-nine years of military tyranny.

After several years of failed attempts by the previous military governments of Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida and Sani Abacha, democracy was legally established in the country on May 29, 1999.

Nigerians were full of hopes and expectations that hard-earned democracy would usher in improvements in living standards, good governance, security, and what Mohammed (2013:573) described as the liberation of natural resources from the iron fist and jaw of greedy officials to that of enterprising and efficient social service delivery in health, education, sports, and prevention of modern-day slavery such as human trafficking, as well as rehabilitation of infrastructure.

Disturbingly, eighteen years after the establishment of the current democratic regime, the political landscape has failed to demonstrate strong indications of good governance.

Elections and electoral processes are subverted; there has been a wide scale of political violence and killing in many parts of the country; an increase in ethnic militia groups who make life unbearable for the citizenry;

general insecurity and high profile terrorism in the northern part of the country, as well as kidnapping and bunkering of the petroleum pipelines in the southern part of the country, which obviously have become a major threat to her democratic process and cons.

The fundamentals of a true democracy include excellent governance, fair and valid elections, fairness, equity, accountability, transparency, responsible leadership, public political education, respect for the rule of law,

and, most significantly, collaboration across the many parts of government. Unfortunately, the practice of so-called democracy in 21st-century Nigeria is inextricably linked to electoral fraud conducted by political parties (Obidimma and Obimma, 2015:43).

Furthermore, the assertion that Nigeria is “consolidating its democracy” is frequently central to mainstream rhetoric in Nigerian media and popular political debates. However, data on the ground contradicts this claim (Momoh, 2013:1).

It is likely most fair to compare the relationship between political parties and the maintenance of democratic governance in a given country to that of the umbilical cord and the foetus (Yagboyaju, 2012:54).

Political parties are crucial to determining the health of any democratic system. Orji (2013:1) contends that “to talk today about consolidating democracy is to talk about a system of competitive political parties.”

As a result, the purpose of this research is to look into the role of political parties in the consolidation of Nigerian democracy, with a focus on the People's Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressive Congress (APC).

1.2 Statement of Problem

Consolidating Nigerian democracy through the operation of political parties has been an encumbrance. The history of Nigeria's democratic experiments demonstrates that elections and political parties have sparked so much animosity that, in some cases, threatened the country's corporate existence, such as after the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election,

and in others, prompted military intervention in political governance, most notably in 1966 and 1983. At the heart of Nigeria's electoral problem is a lack of legitimacy for official election results, which has led to its rejection by opposition political parties.

Since the Fourth Republic's inception, a pattern has emerged indicating that political elites haven't learned much from previous failures. The myriad difficulties facing the People's Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressive Congress (APC), such as defections in the National Assembly, cross-carpeting of governors, and a lack of internal democracy, are stark examples of this tendency.

The People's Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressive Congress (APC) continue to struggle with party discipline. This action exacerbates the political situation, posing a threat to Nigeria's democratic consolidation.

This threat has resulted in a high level of political kidnapping, harassment, arson, and assassination, as well as the withdrawal of trustworthy and qualified professionals from the race. Against this backdrop, this study tries to investigate the role of political parties in the consolidation of democracy in Nigeria.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The primary goal of the study is to investigate the relationship between political parties and democratic consolidation in Nigeria. Other specific objectives include:

1) To investigate the link between political parties and democratic consolidation in Nigeria.

2) To investigate the impact of an intra-party crisis on the democratic process.

3) To look into the impact of party defections on democracy strengthening in Nigeria.

4) To investigate whether the PDP and APC's lack of internal democracy is jeopardising the survival of democracy in Nigeria.

5) Extrapolate the obstacles of consolidating democracy in Nigeria.

1.5 Research Questions.

This study tries to address the following questions:

1) What is the link between political parties and democratic consolidation in Nigeria?

2) How does the intra-party crisis affect the democratic process in Nigeria?

3) To what extent will party defections hinder Nigeria's democratic deepening?

4) To what extent does the PDP and APC's lack of internal democracy jeopardise the sustainability of democracy in Nigeria?

5) What are the challenges to consolidating democracy in Nigeria?

1.6 Significance of the Study

Previous researchers have had quite different perspectives on the possible correlations between political parties and democratic consolidation in Nigeria; so, this study will be extremely important because it will add to the previously existing body of information in this area.

It is envisaged that the analytical, conceptual, and theoretical would not only contribute to a better understanding of the dynamics of political parties and democracy in Nigeria, but will also articulate strong policy recommendations to further democratic consolidation in Nigeria.

Overall, the study's findings would be a valuable resource for Lagos State University students interested in conducting additional research in this field. It would also be valuable for political scientists.

The study would be significant for policymakers and implementers in general, as the study's findings and recommendations would be quite valuable.

1.7 Scope of Study

The scope of the investigation determines the research boundaries. As a result, this study focuses on political parties and democratic consolidation in Nigeria, including the inter-party crisis, party member desertion,

a lack of internal democracy, and the obstacles of democratic consolidation in Nigeria. The study's scope will be limited to the People's Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressive Congress (APC).

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