POLITICAL PARTIES AND INTERNAL DEMOCRACY IN NIGERIA: AN ASSESSMENT OF CONGRESS FOR PROGRESSIVE CHANGE (CPC) IN KATSINA STATE, 2009-2012

POLITICAL PARTIES AND INTERNAL DEMOCRACY IN NIGERIA: AN ASSESSMENT OF CONGRESS FOR PROGRESSIVE CHANGE (CPC) IN KATSINA STATE, 2009-2012

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ABSTRACT

The Study examined internal democracy in the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in Katsina State from 2009 to 2012. In the course of this study data was sourced from two major sources; the Secondary and the Primary Sources. The Secondary sources were from existing literature on Party Politics and Intra-party democracy while Interview method was adopted as the main primary source of data in this study to generate data from the selected key informants within the Party both at the National and State levels. In addition, qualitative method of analysis was adopted to present and analyze data based on the objectives of the study, within the theoretical framework of Elite theory particularly the Iron law of oligarchy developed by Roberto Michel. The Study conclude that the party in the study area did not employ democratic principles in its activities as members were not fully included in the affairs of the party especially regarding the issue of candidate selection during the primaries and agenda setting within the party. The study recommends that the current Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) must be reviewed to incorporate the deleted provision of section 87(9) of the repeal Electoral Act 2010, which provides that “where a political party fails to comply with the provision of this Act in the conduct of its primaries, its candidates for election shall not be included in the election for the particular position in issue. With such provision in place, the Electoral Commission will be able to enforce compliance with internal democratic mechanisms as provided for by the Electoral Act, and also strengthen the Commission’s supervisory role under Sec 85(2) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).

CHAPTER ONE GENERAL INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the Study

Following the global trend where military and monarchical rules are fading and liberal

democracy is taking the lead, the right of the people to exercise their franchise is now the order

of the day. People are now conscious about who rules and under which platform. All these would

not have been achievable today without the platform of political parties. Political parties are very

important in our today‟s polity, candidates seeking elective offices contest under the platform of

a political party and every political party should have its ideology and manifesto. This

determines the kind of rules or policy to be expected from the candidates of such parties. The

increasing number of political parties provides and accommodates the ideologies of the

electorates. This has helped to a large extent in increasing the level of political consciousness and

participation even at the remotest part of the country.

Political parties are associations formally organized with the explicit and declared

purpose of acquiring and or maintaining legal control, either singly or in coalition with other

similar associations, over the personnel and the policy of the government of an actual or

prospective state. Political parties are pre-eminent and very important institutions of modern

democratic governance. The general consensus is that political parties created democracy and

modern democracy is unthinkable save in terms of political parties. Since political parties are

essential components of a democratic machine, it is of utmost importance that they should be

democratic in their internal operations. This therefore makes internal party democracy an

important feature which political parties must practice in order t o be able to make fundamental

input to any democratic arrangement and speed up democratic processes and consolidation.

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Membership participation in political parties is very vital to the survival of the parties in

particular and democracy in general. Members participate in political parties through processes

such as policy formulation, leadership and candidates‟ selection as well as their role in party

organs at all levels of the party structure. For the purpose of this research, intra-party democracy

refers to the extent to which political parties decision making structures and processes provide

oppotunitities for individual citizens to influence the choice that parties offer to voters and

eventually to determine the type of government formed (Scarrow 2005). Intra-party democracy is

essential for the creation and growth of well functioning and sustainable democratic institutions.

Firstly, it encourages a culture of democratic debate and deliberation of critical issues and

therefore collective ownership of decisions. Secondly, it promotes party unity through reduced

factionalism and/or fragmentation. Thirdly, it creates legitimate internal conflict management

systems. No universal definition exists regarding the concept of internal party democracy,

although several scholars agree on some basic principles of electivity, accountability,

transparency, inclusiveness, decentralization, participation and representation.

The attainment of intra-party democracy as outlined above depends on the extent to

which processes of effective membership participation are formally stipulated and practically

implemented in the party‟s organizational rules and procedures. When there is ineffective

enforcement, or complete absence of such rules, the party may be faced with significant

operational challenges including centralized decision making, non-inclusive leadership and

candidates    selection    processes,    undemocratic    conflict    management    mechanisms     and

unconstitutional or illegitimate party conventions.

These challenges often result in undesired outcomes such as lack of cohesion,

factionalism and instability leading to resignations and/or expulsions, declining membership and

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electoral support as well as weak coalitions. These factors ultimately undermine political parties‟

effectiveness as agents of democracy. A critical examination of political parties in Nigeria since


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