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1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
Mainstream rhetoric in Nigeria media and popular discourses of the polity is often centred on the claim that Nigeria is “consolidating its democracy”. The evidence on the ground, however, contradicts this claim (Momoh, 2013:1). It is perhaps most appropriate to liken the relationship between political parties and the sustenance of democratic rule in a particular society to that which exists between the umbilical cord and the foetus (Yagboyaju, 2012:54). Political parties are at the heart of examining the health of any form of democracy (Orji, 2013:1), for example, maintains that ‘to talk, today, about democracy, is to talk about a system of competitive political parties. Their roles and activities are critical in any assessment of democratic practice (Momoh, 2013:1). With the transition to civil rule in 1999 (Signalling the commencement of the fourth republic), political parties had the mandate to produce the right calibre of people to govern (Momoh, 2013:1). One of the most complex and critical institutions of democracy is the political party (ies) (Omotola 2009).
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). In other words, the existence of vibrant political parties is a sine qua non for democratic consolidation in any polity (Dode, 2010). It is patently ironic that political parties largely pursue (and profess) democracy outside the gates and resist it within the gates (Ibeanu, 2013:1). Competitive party and electoral politics is expected to deepen and consolidate the democratic transition, which the country embarked upon in May 1999 (Jinadu, 2013:2). Wellfunctioning political parties are essential for the success of electoral democracy and overall political development of Nigeria (Adetula and Adeyi, 2013:3).
Indeed, democracy is unthinkable in the absence of viable political parties. Parties are expected to participate in the political socialization of electorates, contribute to the accumulation of political power, facilitate recruitment of political leadership, and serve as a unifying force in a divided polity (Omotola, 2010:125). The objectives which party regulation seeks to achieve, including the lingering question of internal party democracy, namely the push and pull of struggles to get political parties to respect their own rules and act in line with democratic principles in the conduct of their internal affairs, all remains central to the wider consolidation of democracy in Nigeria (Ibeanu, 2013: 1).
Anchoring on platforms offered by political parties, citizens make demands on the state, support specific policy positions, and participate in public policy making and implementation. Political parties therefore provide the vital linkage between citizens and the state, governors and the governed, and elites and the masses (Lawson 1980). The nature, behavior and performance of political parties and the nature of party relations with other parties, groups, and even the state have consequences for the nature of governance, integration, stability and security (Ikelegbe, 2013:7).
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
The character and tendencies exhibited by political parties has implications for democratic sustenance in the country (Pogoson, 2013: 5). The political party is a critical, formal, institutional, organizational and mobilizational player in the political process particularly in relation to power, democracy, governance, governments and economy (Ikelegbe, 2013:4). The nature of political parties and the nature of party politics have consequences for the nature of governance (democratic consolidation), integration, stability and security. The performance of political parties in terms of articulation, aggregation, representation and organization are critical to political accountability, communication, democratic consolidation and political stability (Ikelegbe, 2013:4). Is our democracy consolidating or deepening? What is the state of our party politics? How has political parties faired in the consolidation of the Nigeria’s fourth republic? What are the bulks. on the way of political parties in democratic consolidation of Nigeria’s fourth republic? These issues and many more form the nucleus of this piece. It is to this regard that the study desired to examine political parties and democratic consolidation in Nigeria.
1.3 AIM AND OBJECTIVES OF STUDY
The main aim of the research work is to examine the political parties and democratic consolidation in Nigeria. Other specific objectives of study are:
1. to determine the relationship between political parties and democratic consolidation in Nigeria
2. to determine the extent to which the political parties has influenced democratic consolidation processes in Nigeria
3. to investigate on the factors affecting political parties in actualizing democratic consolidation in Nigeria
4. to proffer solution to the above stated problems
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The study came up with research questions so as to ascertain the above stated objectives of study. The research questions for the study are:
1. What is the relationship between political parties and democratic consolidation in Nigeria?
2. To what extent has the political parties influenced democratic consolidation processes in Nigeria?
3. What are the factors affecting political parties in actualizing democratic consolidation in Nigeria?
1.5 STATEMENT OF RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
H0: There is no significant relationship between the activities of the political parties and the consolidation of democracy in Nigeria
H1: There is significant relationship between the activities of the political parties and the consolidation of democracy in Nigeria
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
The following are the significance of this study:
The results of this study will be useful for policy formulation by the government as it define political parties and consolidation of Nigeria democracy. It will also educate the general public on the subject matter. It will also form as guide for political parties in developing manifestoes that will enhance the consolidation of democracy in Nigeria. This research will be a contribution to the body of literature in the area of the political parties’ activities and the consolidation of democracy in Nigeria, thereby constituting the empirical literature for future research in the subject area
1.7 SCOPE OF STUY
The study will cover on political parties and democratic consolidation in Nigeria from 1999-2015
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Democracy: a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.
Politics: the activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power.
Consolidation: to become, or cause something to become, stronger, united and more certain
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