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This research is to examine the contributions of political parties in a democratic governance in Nigeria. This cannot be overemphasized, this is in view of the fact that they are the platform through which officials seek political power in other to initiate and execute programmes for public good. This paper explores an important aspect of the Fourth Republic politics, which is about the contributions of political parties in democratic governance. The paper argues that 16 years into this ‘democratic’ dispensation, Nigeria has not scored high when placed in the same matrix with countries that are heading towards stable democracy. The paper further stressed that political parties in Calabar Municipal Council has in its own little way insignificant contributions to democracy and societal development in the area. The paper further argues that Some political Parties in Calabar Municipal council have failed in their democratic responsibilities of aggregating social interests, representing specific constituencies, and serving as intermediaries between state and society. The paper recommend that members of political parties should endeavour to understand the need of the masses which they lead in order to strategize good means of tackling the need.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Democratic governance is a form of government in which the supreme power of a political community rest on a popular sovereignty.
Democratic governance in Nigeria before 1999 has been occurring at irregular intervals, even post 1999 democratic experience, especially from 1999 to 2007 has been marred by undemocratic practices.
In modern societies political parties are very essential to the political process. This is because they have become veritable instrument or adjunct of democracy in any democratic practice, political parties are not only instrument for capturing political powers, but are also vehicles for the aggregation of interest and ultimate satisfaction of such interests through the control of government.
According to Oyoubaire (2002:56), posits that 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 which delegate authority to agent to implement the broad decision made by the people through majority vote.
Political parties is an organization of people who seeks to achieve a common goal to its members through the acquisition and exercise of political power.
In Nigeria, political parties are usually formed along ethnic, cultural, goe-political and religious lines. In everyday activities of government one can notice the fostering of primordial loyalties such as ethnic sensitivity and over projection of other selfish political tendencies as a result, the political class has always remained bereft of viable political ideology on which the nation’s political future could be anchored. The bankruptcy in ideology and vision have reduced party politics to a bread and butter game where pecuniary motives is the bedrock for loyalty.
Political parties have greatly aided political performance in Calabar Municipal Council.
According to Agbaje (1999), the extent to which political parties aggregate freely, articulate, represent and organize to determines the level of accountability in public life including access to and use of power as well political performance.
Political parties in Calabar Municipal council has helped in strengthening primary healthcare through community involvement. National Health system in many African countries are weak, understaffed, underfinanced, and disseminated by migration and illness. Service promotion is also skewed heavily in favour of urban population, (WHO, 2007). As in other states in Nigeria, political parties and successive government in Cross River State, in Calabar Municipal Council precisely has strived to improve the health service delivery in the area.
Political parties in Calabar Municipal Council have provided the mechanism, processes and institutions for citizens and group to articulate their interest, exercise their right, meet their objective and mediate their differences.
1.2STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
The emergence of democratic governance in Nigeria political system in 1999 was a land mark in the political development of Nigeria. After decade of dictatorship, the return to democracy was received with pump and pageantry by civil societies, labour union, civil rights organization etc. Hope was very high in the area of human right which was completely eroded during dictatorship rule. It was expected that dividends of democracy would be realized through the political parties which were the vehicle through which politicians presented their policies and programmes to the people in exchange for political power and authority.
However, the experiences from 1999 to 2015, and even present, have shown that there have been a disconnect from what political parties ought to do in a democratic setting and what our experiences have been in the last sixteen (16)years.Hence, the need to investigate the actual roles and Contributions of Nigerian politicsin democratic governance, using Calabar Municipal Council as a reference point.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The purpose of the study is to examine the contributions of selected political parties to democratic governance in Calabar Municipal Council.
The study will critically analyse the following issue.
1. To examine the circumstance leading to the formation of political party and its contributions to internal democracy of Calabar Municipal Council.
2. To examine the programmes of the party with a view of establishing their relevance to democratic governance.
3. To determine whether these programmes and policies were implemented with a view to enhance democratic governance in Calabar Municipality.
1.4 RELEVANT RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. Have the emergence and formation of political parties had any contribution in internal democracy of Calabar Municipality?
2. In what way have the programmes of the party enhanced democratic governance in Calabar Municipality?
3. How does these programmes been implemented to provide good governance to the people ofCalabar Municipality?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
- This work is significance in two perspective, firstly, it will add to the existing body of knowledge in the discourse on the contributions political parties in democratic governance.
- Secondly, the research will be of immense value to political leaders and policy makers in Nigeria and will also enlighten and educate the masses on responsibility of parties in democratic governance. Hence, the research will therefore proffer solution to some of the problems of political parties in Nigeria democratic system.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of this study will cover the role and contributions of political parties in democratic governance in Nigeria. The study will be limited to Calabar Municipal council in Cross River State. The Geographical location of Calabar Municipal is latitude 40 58N and longitude 80 17E it lies in the peninsular below Calabar and Kwa Rivers, it is bounded to the North by Akamkpa Local government Area, to the South by Calabar South Local Government Area, it is further bounded to the East by Akpabuyo Local Government Area and finally to the West by Odukpani local government Area.
1.7 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
Hardly would a research study be conducted without constraints, in a country where bureaucracy in the flow of information and where there is inaccurate data and statistics, there readily has to be a problem. Specific instances of constraint related to this research work include:
- Low quality data and inaccurate recording devices.
- Inadequate data collection and handling procedure.
- Lack of research skill,
- Budgetary limitations,
- Time constraint in handling the research and other academic and social activities.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
To avoid ambiguity and misconception of term, it is imperative that a vivid and clear explanation of terms is given.
Democracy is a form of government were the supreme power of the political community rest on popular sovereignty derived from the people.
The actions or ma
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