Skip to main content

Democratic Decay or Democratic Autocracy? Party Primaries and the Challenges of Democratic Consolidation in Nigeria 1999–2019

  • Chapter
  • First Online:
Anonymous Power

Abstract

The presence of political parties in any polity is considered not only as one of the hallmarks of liberal democracy but also as a major catalyst in the democratization process. However, the relationship between democracies and the democratic character of their parties seems to be inversely related. Nowhere is this notion truer than in the nascent democratic experience in Nigeria. Almost every political party in Nigeria is in crisis as a result of the negation of democratic practices in the choice of either party executives and/or choice of candidates for elective positions. All manner of mechanism are crafted to thwart democratic processes especially in the choice of candidates for elective positions ranging from exorbitant fees for would be contestants, national executives veto power to nullify primaries, impose candidates or disqualify candidates with winning potentials. The fallout of these undemocratic practices unleashes several negative consequences ranging from intra party fractionalization, legal tussles, incessant membership defection and explosion of new parties. These have adverse implications for democratic consolidation in Nigeria. This chapter interrogates the character of party primaries in Nigerian Political parties from 1999. This chapter argues that the incessant tendency by parties to jettison established formal processes for candidate selection in preference of imposition and anti-democratic practices has created a unique form of party organization in which the parties are not institutionalized and stable organizations that can help the process of democratic consolidation. The consequences of these undemocratic practices to democracy in Nigeria, the chapter notes, are voter apathy arising from lack of confidence in the electoral process, intra-party crisis which complicates the conduct of election and intra-party fractionalization which breeds political violence. This chapter recommends the strengthening of the electoral management body with necessary provisions to regulate the internal management of parties so as to ensure that parties adhere to the formal and constitutional procedures that will ensure institutionalization.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Chapter
USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD 119.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Hardcover Book
USD 159.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • ACE Encylopedia. (2013). Parties and candidates. ACE Electoral Knowledge Network Project.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ake, C. (1989). How politics under develops Africa. In J. Ihonvbere (Ed.), The political economy of crisis and underdevelopment in Africa: Selected works of Claude Ake (pp. 54–65). Jad Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ake, C. (2001). Democracy and development in Africa. Spectrum Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Akinsanmi, G. (2013). Battle of the titans: Ogun state politics. In J. Ayoade & A. Akinsanya (Eds.), Nigeria’s critical election 2011 (pp. 229–247). Lexington Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • All Progressive Congress (APC) Constitution. (2014).

    Google Scholar 

  • All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) Constitution. (n.d.).

    Google Scholar 

  • Chabal, P., & Daloz, J-P. (1999). African works: Disorder as political instrument. James Currey Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  • Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. (1999). Federal Government Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Constitution of the Peoples Democratic Party: Power to the People Federal Republic of Nigeria. (2012). (as amended).

    Google Scholar 

  • Dahl, R. (1965). Reflections on government and opposition in western democracies. Government Opposition, 1(1), 7–24.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Duvurger, M. (1965). Political parties. Methuen.

    Google Scholar 

  • Elischer, S. (2008). Do African political parties contribute to democracy? Some findings from Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria. Africa Spectrum, 43(2), 75–201. Retrieved June 19, 2014, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/40175236

  • Fawole, W. (2005). Voting without choosing: Interrogating the crisis of electoral democracy in Nigeria. In T. Lumumba-Kasongo (Ed.), Liberal democracy and its critics in Africa: Political dysfunction and the struggle for social Progress. Codesria Books and Zed Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Federal Republic of Nigeria. (2006). Electoral Act (Online). Retrieved July 25, 2007, from http://www.dawodu.com/electoralact2006.htm

  • Federal Republic of Nigeria. (2010). Electoral Act (Online) Official Gazettee, 97(92). Federal Government Printers. Retrieved July 3, 2014, from http://www.inecnigeria.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Amendment.pdf

  • Huntington, P. (1968). Political order in changing societies. Yale University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Huntington, S. (1991). The third wave: Democratization in the late twentieth century USA. University of Oklahoma Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ibrahim, J. (2003). The transformation of ethno-regional identities in Nigeria. In A. Jega (Ed.), Identity transformation and identity politics under structural adjustment in Africa (pp. 217–243). Codesria.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jega, A. (2014). Inter-Party Collaboration, National Stability and Democratic Consolidation in Nigeria. Keynote address delivered at the All Nigeria Political Parties and Stakeholders Summit, June 12.

    Google Scholar 

  • Joseph, R. (1991). Democracy and Prebendal politics in Nigeria: The rise and fall of the Second Republic. Spectrum Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Joseph, R. (1999). State, conflict and democracy in Africa. Boulder Co: Lynne Rienner Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mainwaring, S. (1998, October). Rethinking Party Systems Theory in the Third Wave of Democratization: The Importance of Party System Institutionalization. Working Paper #260, April. The Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies. Retrieved January 16, 2013, from http://kellogg.nd.edu/publications/workingpapers/wps/260.pdf

  • Maiyo, J. (2008a). Preaching water, drinking wine ? Political parties and intra party democracy in East Africa: Considerations for democratic consolidation. Paper presented at a seminar on Intra-Party Democracy at the African Studies Centre, Leiden University on September 9. Retrieved June 19, 2014, from https://www.academia.edu/877577/

  • Maiyo, J. (2008b). Political parties and intra party democracy in East Africa: From representative to participatory democracy. Retrieved June 19, 2014, from http://www.ascleiden.nl/Pdf/thesis-maiyo.pdf

  • Michels, R. (1915). Political parties: A sociological study of the Oligarchical tendencies of modern democracy. Translated by E. Paul & C. Paul. Hearts International Library.

    Google Scholar 

  • Momoh, A. (2013). The elections in Lagos state as a political monologue. In J. Ayoade & A. Akinsanya (Eds.), Nigeria’s critical election 2011 (pp. 203–227). Lexington Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mortiar, S. (2002). Democratic consolidation in South Africa. Retrieved July 14, 2013, from http://www.eisa.org.za/PDF/SAdem_cons_mott1.pdf

  • Nnoli, O. (2008). Issues of politics: A conceptual analysis of Nigerian politics, 1999–2004. In E. Amucheazi & O. Ibeanu (Eds.), Between the theory & practice of democracy in Nigeria: An assessment of Obasanjo’s first term in office by academics and practitioners (pp. l3–l45). Adonis & Abbey Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  • Norris, P. (2004). Building political parties: Reforming legal regulations and internal rules. Report Commissioned by International IDEA. Retrieved July 2, 2014, from http://www.idea.int/parties/upload/pippa%20norris%20ready%20for%20wev%20_3_.pdfV

  • Obianyo, N. (2003). Electoral malpractices /violence and sustainable emocracy in Nigeriar towards a mor proactive role for election observer teams. Paper presented at the 15th annual International Conference of the International Association of Nigerian Studies and Development (IANSD) Atlanta-Georgia, USA, September 25–27.

    Google Scholar 

  • Obianyo, N. (2008a). The implications of democratization of disempowerment on sustainable democracy: The experience of Anambra state. University of Nigeria Journal of Political Economy, 2(1&2), 86–111.

    Google Scholar 

  • Obianyo, N. (2008b). Democracy on sale: The 2007 election and the future of democratic movement in Africa. In V. Okafor (Ed.), Nigeria’s stumbling democracy and its implications for Africa’s democratic movement (pp. 35–55). Preager Security International.

    Google Scholar 

  • Obianyo, N. (2013). Sour friendship: Electoral politics in Imo and Abia states, 2007–2011. In J. Ayoade & A. Akinsanya (Eds.), Nigeria’s critical election 2011 (pp. l17–l155). Lexington Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Okafor, F., & Uzodinma, C. (2013). Party primaries in Nigeria and the electoral choice of party members: A study of the emergence of party candidates in Anambra state (1999–2010). ANSU Journal of Peace and Development Studies, 1(2), 15–28.

    Google Scholar 

  • Omoruyi, O. (2001). Parties and politics in Nigeria. Retreived January 16, 2013, from http://www.dawodu.com/omoruyil4.htm

  • Parry, G. (1977). Political elites (5th ed.). George Allen & Unwin.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sartori, G. (2005). Parties and party systems: A framework for analysis. ECPR.

    Google Scholar 

  • Scarrow, S. (2005). Political parties and democracy in theoretical and practical perspectives implementing intra party democracy. National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI). Retrieved June 5, 2014, from https://www.ndi.org/files/1951_polpart_scarrow_110105.pdf

  • Schapiro, L. (Ed.). (1972). Political opposition in one party states (pp. 1–279). Macmillan.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schedler, A. (2001). Measuring democratic consolidation. Studies in Comparative International Development, 36(l), 66–92. Retrieved July 14, 2013, from http://works.bepress.com/andreas_schedler/17/

  • Todi, A. (2014, May 2). Democratizing parties: Intra party democracy in political parties in Ghana and Nepal. Thesis submitted for Honors, Centre on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law(CDDRL), Stanford University. Retrieved June 5, 2014, from http://iis-db.stanford.edu/docs/870/Aditya_Todi_CDDRL_Thesis.pdf

  • Widdowson, F. (2005, June). The political economy of Nuvavutlnternal Colony or Rentier Theory? Paper Prepared for the annual meeting of the Canadian Political Science Association, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario. Retrieved August 8, 2010, from http://www.cpsa.accp.ca/papers_2005/Widdowson.pdf

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Nkolika Obianyo .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2022 The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd.

About this chapter

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

Obianyo, N., Alumona, I.M. (2022). Democratic Decay or Democratic Autocracy? Party Primaries and the Challenges of Democratic Consolidation in Nigeria 1999–2019. In: Ibeanu, O., Okoye, I.'., Alumona, I.M., Aniche, E.T. (eds) Anonymous Power. Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-6058-0_14

Download citation

Publish with us

Policies and ethics