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Leadership crisis has served as a challenge to the growth and sustainability of Nigeria’s democracy. The purpose of this study is to show the impact Leadership crisis on the future of the PDP from 2011 to 2015. The Qualitative descriptive method was adopted through the use of secondary data to gather useful data relevant to the research study. The realistic group theory provided the theoretical framework analysis. The findings during the course of the research study reveal the effect of internal crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party from 2011 till 2015. This research, therefore, offers a variety of recommendations aimed at curtailing intra-crisis among Nigerian political parties. One of such is the strict implementation of internal democracy in the activities of political parties.

Keywords: Leadership crisis, Political party, Democracy

                                                                    CHAPTER ONE



Democracy requires active participation of political parties. Political parties are one of the essential tools for a democracy. According to Scarrow (2000:1), democracy needs strong and sustainable political parties with the capacity to represent citizens and provide policy choices that demonstrate their ability to govern for the public good. According to Oyovbaire (1987:3) democracy as a system of government seeks to realize a generally recognized common good through a collective initiation and discussion of policy questions concerning public affairs and which delegate authority to agent to implement the broad decisions made by the people through majority vote. Thus, in contemporary times, democracy has been referred to as the expression of popular will of the political community through elected representatives (Adamu: 2012:10). Political parties are traditionally the most significant intermediary organization in democratic societies. Students of political parties have commonly associated them with democracy itself (Orji, 2013:1). Political parties, as “makers” of democracy, have been so romanticized that scholars claim that neither democracy nor democratic societies are thinkable without them (Omotola 2009:79). In other words, the existence of vibrant political parties is a sine qua non for democratic consolidation in any polity (Dode, 2010:3). Shively (1997:3) sees political party as a group of officials or would be officials who are linked with a sizeable group of citizens into an organization; the chief object of this organization, is to ensure that its officials attain power or are maintained in power. Parties are unique organizations that fulfill a number of interrelated functions central to the democratic process of governance. Some essential party roles are: contesting and winning elections, in order to seek control of government, aggregating and representing social interests, and vetting and training political leaders who will assume a role in governing society.

Leadership conflicts have existed in Nigeria before the fourth republic and have been a permanent feature among political parties in Nigeria till date. According to Eme (2011:16), Leadership crisis can be seen as a period of great distress, trouble and pain created in a political party due to the failure of the party concerned to provide solutions and reunite effectively its internal disagreements or conflicts. In 1962, there was crisis among the leaders of the Action Group in south west mainly between Obafemi Awolowo and Samuel Ladoke Akintola. There were differences in political and economic in ideologies between Akintola and Awolowo which led to crisis between the two leaders. The conflict between Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Samuel Ladoke Akintola in the first Republic had a semblance of a political situation where absence of internal democracy created severe political crisis in the post-colonial Nigeria. While Akintola, rejected and frowned at the continuous overbearing influence of Awolowo on him even as Premier of the Western region, the aftermath was the crisis arising from the disagreements between Awolowo and Akintola who later entered into an alliance with the Northern People’s Congress which was government at the center. After Akintola had emerged as the Premier of Western Region under the Action Group, he later dumped the party for his party, the Nigerian National Democratic Party, NNDP. The outcome of that feud short lived the tenure of Akintola and his NNDP (Babangida, 2011:44). The outcome of the crisis weakened the Action Group in the Western Region and there was an imminent collapse of the party structure because of divisions within the party that reflected cleavages within the Yoruba society (National Mirror, 2013). Also the conflicts within the Alliance of Democracy (AD) in the fourth republic led to two major factions within the party. This later led to the exit of some prominent and significant members of the party. The breakaway group created a new party, the Action Congress which later grew into the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and consequent death of Alliance of Democracy (AD).Since the military vacated from political power in May 1999, the PDP has dominated governance in Nigeria. The party has been characterized with series of intra- party conflicts till date. The major task of this research study is to investigate the inter party conflicts in the Peoples Democratic Party and its effect on the future on the Peoples Democratic Party (1999-2015).


Leadership conflict is a permanent feature among Nigerian political parties. It has served as backdrop to the growth of Nigeria’s democracy (Omitola, 2003:2:54). According to Egoh & Anichie (2013), internal party democracy is an issue that has consistently eluded Nigerian democracy because political parties have always been hijacked at all levels by powerful individuals who impose loyalists as candidates for election. The pervasive level of intra and inter political party crisis in the country‘s democratic system can be attributed to the state of mind and perception that politics is the most lucrative industry in the country. These believe is intensified by the growing culture of impunity and blatant disregard to the rule of law emblematized by the Nigerian political elites. Unfortunately, political parties have become veritable platforms for the political elites to assume power through elections that are often characterized with fraud and other forms of electoral malpractices. Shale and Matlosa (2008:13) identifies the causes of Leadership conflict to include: favouritism promoting one‘s kith and kin; unequal sharing of resources (leader‘s constituency gets a lion‘s share); lack of regular meetings; centralized authority power concentrated at the top. According to Aleyomi (2013:1:289), the PDP lacks a clear cut ideology, it has both capitalist and conservative nature without clear policy positions as a basis of popular mobilization and legitimacy of its actions. Iyare (2004:92) observed that there is almost nothing to choose between PDP and other parties in terms of ideological leaning.

The selection of candidates for various elective positions has led to crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). A clear example is the Lagos PDP conflict that occurred in the governorship primaries in December, 2014. There was rift between Musiliu Obanikoro and the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party in Lagos. Obanikoro accused the leadership of the party (PDP) of backing another governorship aspirant in Jimi Agbaje.

According to Aleyomi (2013:1:286) The case of Leadership democracy in the People Democratic Party (PDP) cannot lay claim to democratic consolidation if it continues with the current mode of organizing her primaries most especially during the 2011 Presidential primary and the Party National Convention in 2013. A case study was when Prof. Charles Soludo, the former Central Bank of Nigeria’s director was imposed as Anambra State governorship candidate by the National Executive party. The act generated hostility and several petitions among the PDP members in the state. This led to the creation of several factions within the party in the state and cross carpeting of some members to another party. The imposition of Bamanga Tukur as the past chairman of the People Democratic Party was against the wish and consent of the people who had voted massively in favour of Babayo but he was eventually short changed (Aleyomi:2013:291-292).

The non adherence to the zoning arrangement by the PDP members has also led to serious crisis in the party. It has led to division and crisis with the North and south. The northern members in the Peoples Democratic Party claimed that it was still their turn to produce the next president after the demise of Yar’adua while majority of the member in the Peoples Democratic Party from the south claimed that the demise of Yar’adua marked the end of zoning arrangement in the PDP. There was also crisis in the Rivers state Peoples Democratic Party, some governorship aspirants have accused the Party’s executive led by Felix Obuah as the chairman of the party in the state of imposition. They accused Felix Obuah led executive of imposing Nyesom Wike as the governorship candidate and not strictly adhering to the zoning arrangement (Leadership Newspaper, September 28, 2014).

According to Okoli (2001:2), several factors have led to conflicts, instability and intra party opposition within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) like personal difference clash of socio economic interest, lack of party discipline, influence of money politics, the power of incumbency and the failure of the party leaders to manage the afore mention factors have generated into conflicts, instability and Leadership opposition within the Peoples Democratic Party. According to Nwodo (Punch Newspaper, 2010:19), “for the Peoples Democratic Party to experience growth and development internal democracy must be strictly adhered to”. In that regard, to Olisa Metuh, opine that the failure of the People’s Democratic Party to manage its internal crisis might lead to the implosion of the party and someday might be in opposition (The Nation, 2010:13). The internal crises in the Peoples Democratic Party have led to many prominent members and founding fathers decamping to opposition parties. Notable among them are Atiku Abubakar, Audu Ogbeh, Vincent Ogbulafor, Rabiu  Kwakwanso, Chief Oyinlola, Chief Awoniyi, Segun Oni, Aminu Bello Masari among others. At the national level, there was crisis between President Olusegun Obasanjo and his vice, Atiku Abubakar. There were different allegations and counter allegations between them mostly based on corruption (Ikelegbe 2012:29). In 2013, there were crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party; most notable was the crisis that erupted during their convention which led to the creation of New Peoples Democratic Party led by Kawu Baraje.  The members of the New Peoples Democratic Party were against the leadership style of Bamaga Tukur who was then the party chairman. The notable members of the New Peoples Democratic Party were Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Chief Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Sam Jaja, and seven governors Rotimi Amaechi (Port Harcourt); Aliyu Wammako(Sokoto State); Rabiu kwakwanso (Kano); Sule Lamido (Jigawa); Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara); Babangida Aliyu (Niger); Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) (Punch Newspaper, September 1st, 2013).

The recently conducted primaries in the Peoples Democratic Party across the states in the federation have led to conflicts and instability which has resulted into some of the members defecting to other opposition parties. The Peoples Democratic Party in Ibadan was characterized with internal conflicts and instability among the governorship aspirants. The aggrieved aspirants accused the party leaders of marginalization. Several governorship aspirants on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party defected to the opposition parties. Otunba Alao Akala defected to Labour Party and emerged as their governorship candidate while Seyi Makinde emerged as the Social Democratic Party’s candidate after defecting from the People’s Democratic Party (Vanguard Newspaper, December 16, 2014). The governorship primaries in the Peoples Democratic Party in Nassarawa have also generated controversies among aspirants. Most notable among the aggrieved governorship aspirants is the former Minister of Information, Labran Maku. According to him, the governorship primaries were characterized with irregularities and were not free and fair (Premium Times, December 16, 2014). The research study will tend to examine how intra party crisis most especially in the PDP affects Nigeria’s democracy.  These raise the questions:

1.      Why has there been heightened Leadership conflict in the Peoples Democratic Party?

2.      What has been the adverse effect of intra party conflict on the stability of the Peoples Democratic Party in Nigeria today?

3.      Is the intra party conflict in Peoples Democratic Party negatively affecting is future development?


The objective of this research study is to investigate on Leadership conflict within the PDP. The research study aims to study the effect of Leadership crisis on the future of the Peoples Democratic Party and its effect on the sustainability on Nigeria’s democracy. Thus the objectives of the research study are-

1. To investigate the causes of heightened Leadership conflict in the Peoples Democratic Party  

2. To investigate the adverse effect of intra party conflict on the stability of the Peoples    Democratic Party in Nigeria today.

3. To determine the effects of intra party conflict on the future of Peoples Democratic Party.


This research study will theoretically add to the existing and present body of academic knowledge on intra party conflict in a democratic dispensation. The research study will also practically be of huge significance to political leaders and policy makers in Nigeria and will also inform and educate the masses on the functions and duties of political parties in democratic governance. The research study will provide practical solutions to some of the challenges of political parties in Nigeria democratic system.


The research study was limited by dearth of materials and time, but it has not hampered the successful outcome of the research study.


The research study adopts the qualitative descriptive and historical method in the analysis of data collection. Qualitative descriptive method is a form of data-gathering techniques that are focused on the significance of observations made in a study rather than the raw numbers themselves. The descriptive method is applied to go deeper into issues of interest and explore nuances related to the problem at hand. Thus, the study relies on the use of secondary data collection by making use of relevant information from Journals, Books, Newspaper, Magazines, official publication and through the use of internet.


The essay comprises of five chapters.

The chapter one contains the introductory aspect, which includes background to the study, statement of the problem, research questions, and objectives of the study, significance of study, limitations of study, research methodology and organization of study.

The Chapter two consists of the review of extant literature and theoretical framework by applying the group theory. This chapter will review the existing whereby such literatures. This includes the causes of Leadership conflicts, effects of Leadership conflict, methods of eradicating inter-party conflicts in Nigeria and theoretical framework.

The chapter three examines the historical overview of Leadership conflicts in Nigeria from independence till date. History of the Peoples Democratic Party in Nigeria. The research study will also investigate on the effect of intra party conflict on the stability of the Peoples Democratic Party.

Chapter four will concentrate on the role of Peoples Democratic Party in governance, the economic role, the anti-corruption policies and also discuss the effects of Leadership conflicts on the future of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The chapter five consists of summary of findings, conclusions and recommendations.


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