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INTERNAL PARTY DEMOCRACY AND POLITICAL STABILITY IN NIGERIA: A CASE STUDY OF PDP ENUGU EAST L. G. A. IN ENUGU STATE 2007-2018

Project topic for Political Science department.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.0       Introduction

            We sought to restore the image of our party, because the image of our dear party, the largest political party in Africa, has been grossly eroded due to strife, imposition of candidates, god-fatherism, money bag politics, injustice, and lack of understanding of our party manifesto. As the ruling party, if we get it right, Nigeria will get it right (Nwodo, 2010). Internal democracy must succeed for PDP to grow. I get scared sometimes when i think of the fact that if we don't manage our party very well, some day we might be in opposition (Metuh, 2010).

            In a few months ago, Nigeria went into another general election, making it the sixty general election conducted in Nation's Fourth Republic. The last five elections were held in 1999, 2003,2007, 2011 and 2015. These elections were not without severe criticisms both from local (National) and international community's because of their peculiar nature and elections not only because their votes my not count at the end of the day but because they have lost interest in voting as those they had voted for before now disappointed them due to lack of performance and their rapid transformation from acute penury to stupendous wealth, all at the expense of the electorate. It is perhaps why the National Chairman of PDP submits that the party has been handed over to godfathers who, with reckless abandon impose candidates with questionable character and no leadership qualities on the citizens. Such people elected under the platform of the party have consistently brought public odium on the party to the chagrin of PDP memebrs and the nation at large (Nwodo, 2010).

1.1       Background to the Study

            There is no universal definition of the concept of intraparty democracy (internal party democracy). Although many scholars agreed on some basic principles of electivity, accountability, transparency, inclusivity, participation, and representation. (Jeroen, 2011) "Internal party democracy means that the party's should be formed "bottom-up" and that the internal distribution of power should be marked by dispersion at different levels, bodies and individuals rather than by the concentration in one organ" Cular(2004). Unlike most definitions of democracy at the level of political system, the definition of internal party does not mean a state that can be distinguished from other forms of internal party order. It is rather about the scale by which we can measure the extent to which a party is democratically organized and eventually compare among other parties.

            According to Salih (2006) internal party democracy "Implies support for the general interest of the party membership, the public and the state. It means that party structure and organisation are participatory and inclusive, essentially vehicles for the exercise of nascent democratic leadership and value". The first group involves the organisation of free, fair and regular elections of internal positions as well as candidates for the representative bodies. While the second group involve equal and open participation of entire members and members' group in such a way that interest are more or less equally represented. It is imperative to analyze actual practice by political in order to determine whether they adhere to the practice of internal democracy. There levels of observations are determinable for the purpose of this analysis. These are legal requirements, party regulations, and actual practice. In Nigeria, these analyses will be carried out with reference to the Electoral Act 2014, (as amended), the Constitutions of the political parties and the actual conducts of the political parties during their various parties primaries conducted prior to the April, 2015 general elections.

            Political parties are of the institutions that are carrier of democratic principles in any organized society. Thus, there are a number of 'institutional guarantees' that parties have to fulfill if they were to effectively meet what is expected of them in a democracy. One of such institutional requirements is internal (intra-party) democracy. As Magolowondo (n.d) points out, this very important institutional dimension is lacking in many political parties, particularly in emerging democracies. But the question is, what is Internal Democracy? Drawing on Scarrow (2004) study on Political Parties and Democracy in theoretical and practical perspectives; Implementing intra-party democracy, internal democracy is a very broad term describing a wide range of methods for including party members in intra-party deliberation and decision-making. It is democracy within the party and the extent to which a party subscribes to and abide by the basic and universal democratic tenets.

            As Tyoden (1994) argues, hardly is a political system adjudged democratic without the central placement of political parties in its political process. This is because political parties are the major vehicles for the expression of an essential feature of the democratic process. In this case, however, inter and intra party relationships are vital because they determine the health and resilience of the party system and by extension the fate of democracy and the nature of the political system itself. In similar vein, Mersel (2006) asserts that various democracies in recent times have faced the problem of nondemocratic political parties, a situation where most parties only focus on external activities, neglecting internal planning and organization. He argues that in determining whether a political party is nondemocratic, attention should be given to party's goals and practices. This is so because some parties often ignore essential elements such as their internal structures.

            Internal party democracy aims at developing more democratic, transparent and effective political parties. it identifies specific challenges in the internal management and functioning of parties and party systems. These include; candidate selection, leadership selection, policy making, membership relations, gender discrimination and party funding. from this outcome-oriented perspective, parties' organizational structures should be judged above all in terms how well they help the parties choose policies and personnel that reflect the preferences of their broader electorates. Another important effect of intra-party democracy in line with the assertion of Gosnell (1968) is that it provides necessary vertical linkages between different deliberating spheres and horizontal linkage between competing issues. The elements which are instrumental to intra-party democracy cannot be over-emphasized in having effective and working internal democracy. First and foremost, it involves in organizing free, fair and periodic elections of internal positions, as well as candidates for representative bodies. The second entails equal and open participation of all members and members and member groups in such a way that interests are equally represented.

Drawing from the above exposition relating to the necessity and the essence of ri1es and regulations guiding our public life, government is formed. This government consists of a body of persons that make decisions. Ideally, the decisions ought to be in the interest of the general populace. Essentially, what constitutes the body, the procedures and processes by which the laws are formulated agitated the minds of the political philosophers, whether by the assemblies of the elders (gerontocracy), the committee of the wealthy (plutocracy), the nobles (aristocracy), the experts (technocracy), and the general populace (democracy). This last form of political .arrangement appears to be the best form of government (Okonkwo, 2015).

Azai (2012) has identified the zoning arrangement in the Peoples Democratic Party, (which is the ruling party in Nigeria since the return to democracy in May, 1999) as one of the reasons for the rising level of insecurity in the entire country (The Punch April 28,2012).
One can therefore posit that the desperation for political power in the country is because
power seekers in Nigeria see politics as an avenue for making money, a sort of open sesame to wealth to be in power is to control state resources that are often converted to 1personal use ( Edoh, 2002). This probably implies that the acquisition of political power is not an end in. itself, but only’ a means to an end and the ultimate end of course is economic power and the primitive accumulation of public wealth for personal use by the political elites.

The interplay between parties and democracies should reflect the parties’ adherence not only to democratic goals and actions but also to internal democratic structures (Mersel, 2006). Internal democracy aims at developing more democratic, transparent and effective political parties. It identifies specific challenges in the internal management and functioning
of parties and party systems. These include: candidate selection, leadership selection, policy making, membership. relations, gender, minorities, youth and party funding. It is in light of the above that the present attempts to investigate the internal party democracy and political stability in Nigeria, a study PDP Enugu state.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

Maintenance of internal democracy, through the process of selecting candidates amongpolitical partiesin Nigeria, particularly in the People’s  Democratic Party has remained a vexed issue (Akubo & Umoru, 2014). Consequently, After decades long colonial rule and military rule it was expected that the new democratic dispensation would create an avenue for the maximization an true embracing of democracy and it’s principles in the country.

 The trend remains an overt reliance on structures of political parties to aid in the achievement of such democracy; since political parties are dividends and makers of democracies, it is expected of them to not only aid in achieving the needed democracy in the country, but also ensure that they maintain democratic principles within themselves. In essence, political parties ‘were seen as the purveyors of the democracy, because they themselves exude democratic principles among members. Hence, the achievement of these roles is largely hinged on the capability of the party to foster internal unity, relations, democracy and cohesion. However, although these political parties theoretically befit constitutional qualities and prospects ascribed to them, enhancing internal democracy remained a herculean task in practice; they have been bereft of proper adherence to their respective Constitutional party structures Particularly in the process of selecting candidates and Conducting its primaries.

Such discrepancy has sparked Odious high level of instability that has enveloped the over the decades.Necessitating the need to identify and explain some of the constraints of Nigerian parties towards promoting political stability and upholding the democratic principles internally and externally.

1.3       Objectives of the Study

The broad objective of this study is to examine the internal party democracy and political stability in Nigeria with focus on PDP Enugu East L. G. A. in Enugu state chapter 2007 to 2018.

The specific objectives of the study arc as follows:

To examine how internal party democracy contributed to the intra party conflict in PDP Enugu East L. G. A. In Enugu state.

To determine whether political stability has accounted for victory at the polls during L.G.A elections in Enugu East L. G. A. of Enugu state from 2007 and 2018.

To examine if lack of internal party democracy contributed to the intra party conflict in Enugu East L. G. A. of Enugu State from 2007 to 2018.

1.4       Research Questions

The following research questions were formulated:

How has internal party democracy contributed to the intra conflict party in PDP Enugu East L. G. A. of Enugu State?

Has Political stability has accounted for the victory of the PDP at the polls during
L.G.A elections Enugu East L. G. A. In Enugu State from 2007 to 2018?

How has the lack of internal party democracy contributed to the intra party conflict in Enugu East L. G. A. PDP between 2007 and 2018?

1.5       Research Hypotheses

 This study will be guided by the following hypotheses

H0        The internal party democracy has not led to intra party conflicts in Enugu East L. G. A. In Enugu State from 2007 to 2018.

H1        The internal party democracy has led to intra party conflicts Enugu East L. G. A. In Enugu State from 2007 to 2018.

H0        Political stability have not accounted for the victory of PDP at the polls during L.G.A elections Enugu East L. G. A. In Enugu State from 2007 to 2018.

H2        Political stability have accounted for the victory of PDP at the polls during L.G.A elections Enugu East L. G. A. In Enugu State from 2007 to 2018.

H1        The lack of internal party democracy has not contributed to the intra party conflict in Enugu East L. G. A. PDP between 2007 and 2018

H2        The lack of internal party democracy has contributed to the intra party conflict in Enugu East L. G. A. PDP between 2007 and 2018

1.6       Significance of the Study

This study has both empirical and theoretical significance. Empirically, the idea generated from this research will help to deepen democracy in Peoples Democracy Party and the entire Nigeria. This study will help the PDP in Enugu state members to understand the missing link as regards the inability of their leaders to stability internal party democracy in the party despite their modest effort. On the part of the part of the politicians, the  recommendations of this report will be invaluable as it will serve as a  reasonable material that will help to enhance their operations. While on the part of citizens, this report will help to expose in greater details the inherent dangers of not consolidating democracy in our country (Nigeria).

Practically it will assist policy makers to serve as an indispensable tool for policy makers,

politicians, stakeholders and future political aspirants intending to rule sectors of the government to guide and foster further co-existence among political parties, as it remains a building block, an eye opener and a light unto the path of citizens, students and political parties in upholding the democratic principles for the attainment of political stability.

1.7       Scope of the Study

The study is limited to internal party democracy and political stability in Nigeria. The study is also limited to a party, PDP Enugu East L. G. A. In Enugu State from 2007 to 2018.

1.8       Definition of the Terms

Democracy: is government by the people in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.

Election: is a formal group decision-making process by which a population choose an individual to hold public office.

Internal Democracy: refers to the level and methods of including party members in the decision making and deliberation within the party structure.

Intra party: occurring within the membership or scope of usually political party intraparty feuding intraparty organization.

Political stability: A nation that is constantly having political coups or revolutions or civil wars would be said to have very low political stability.

PDP: People Democracy Party is Nigerian political party founded in August 1998 by members of numerous groups and organizations, including the groups known as G-18 and G-34. The party, which has a broad political base, supports economic deregulation, human rights, and greater funding for health care and education, among other goals.


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