POLITICAL PARTY DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA: AN OPINION SURVEY OF THE THREE SENATORIAL DISTRICTS OF EDO STATE, NIGERIA (1999 – 2012)
This study examines, investigates, and surveys opinion of Nigerians on some of the factors that influence party and party system development in Nigeria, using data elicited from the three Senatorial Districts of Edo State, Nigeria. The exercise was embarked upon against the background of widespread desire of Nigerians for the country to attain the highest height of party politics. To be sure, Nigerians have been clamouring for the country to evolve, organize and develop viable political parties that will aid the democratization process. The question raised has been whether the political attitudes and predispositions of the Nigerian public are supportive or antagonistic to the identified factors influencing and shaping party and party system development in Nigeria.
The stratified random sampling was used to select the respondents or sample of 1,200 Nigerians, from Edo-North, Edo-Central, and Edo-South Senatorial Districts of Edo State. The measurement instruments were the structured questionnaire and in-depth interview, designed to enable the researcher get at the trend of party development in Nigeria. The data collected were analyzed with the aid of simple percentage, and the chi-square and Yule’s Q to test and determine the degree of association inherent in the stated hypotheses. Evidence from the study’s results indicate that: the male respondents were more likely than their female counterparts to have the opinion that strong and vibrant opposition parties in Nigeria is predicated on the country’s choice of presidential system of government; the married respondents were more likely than their counterparts who are single to have the opinion that there is a low institutionalization of parties and party system in Nigeria. The respondents who fall within the age bracket of 40years and above were more likely than their counterparts who fall within the age bracket of below 40years to have the opinion that ethnic sentiments is still associated with the country’s political parties; the respondents with tertiary education were less likely than their counterparts with secondary education/less to have the opinion that the simple plurality (FPTP) electoral system is the best option for the Nigerian state; and respondents who are public servants/political office holders are more likely than their counterparts who fall within the business and others category to have the opinion that the multi-party system is the best option for the Nigerian state.
Policy advice or recommendations were made at the end of the study, some of which include:
1. The urgent need for government to ensure political parties are premised on ideological bases rather than on the forces of primordialism – ethnicity and religion.
2. The need for government to promote internal democracy within Nigerian political parties.
3. The need for government to address the character of the Nigerian state by decongesting the center at national and state levels and as such taming the tide of elite factionalization of political parties.
4. The need for government to promote the vibrancy of opposition parties in Nigeria via strengthening the instrumentality of the presidential system. Political Party Development
5. The need for the electoral system in Nigeria to be re-visited by the government. Political Party Development
6. The need to de-register some of the existing political parties in Nigeria notwithstanding the fact that it is a negation of the practice of multi-partyism.
Thus, for the evolution and development of viable political parties in Nigeria, socio-political education and re-engineering are imperative. The values of hard work, tolerance, discipline and unity should be emphasized by the people and government of Nigeria. Political Party Development, Political Party Development, Political Party Development