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Politics, Political Parties and the Party System in Nigeria: Who's Interest?

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Party system and the administration of political parties are critical factors in determining the direction of politics and democracy. Three political parties contested at the inception of Nigeria’s Fourth Republic in 1999, but the number increased to more than 91 as at 2019. This paper raises fundamental questions as to whose interest – public or private interest of promoters and financiers - these parties serve, and whether the increase in the number of political parties has significantly entrenched democratic values in the country? These questions are compelling because of several events in political party operations in the 20 years of the Fourth Republic. These include controversial and vexatious party primaries preceding every major election, often leading to protracted and distractive litigations and rampant political defections. Unregulated use of money has, in particular, restrained ample participation by women and youths, while violence is almost becoming a norm and permanent characteristic of the electoral and political system. The paper draws data from secondary documentary sources for its conceptual and theoretical contents. Primary data are generated from events analyses by the authors as observers at party conventions and other meetings for the selection of candidates for political offices as well as during general elections. This is complimented by content analyses of relevant documents including electoral laws, court and law reports, and reports by special committees such as the Electoral Reform Committee (ERC). A combination of the ecological approach and conspiratorial theory is deployed for the paper’s analytic frame.


International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences (Volume 89)
D. A. Yagboyaju and A. T. Simbine, "Politics, Political Parties and the Party System in Nigeria: Who's Interest?", International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences, Vol. 89, pp. 33-50, 2020
Online since:
December 2020

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