POLITICAL LEADERSHIP CRISES IN ALL PROGRESSIVES GRAND ALLIANCE AND PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR POLITICAL PARTY DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA

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CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION

  • Background of the Study

In modern societies, the application of the concept of internal democracy in the conduct of the affairs of political parties, particularly with regards to primary elections, is inviolable and, therefore, sacrosanct. The concept of internal democracy operates on the premise of due process, fair play, equity and good conscience in the discharge of duties and obligations to organizations, groups or the society at large. Within the fold of most political parties in Nigeria, however, internal democracy as a concept seems to be honored more in the breach as primordial considerations such as avarice, greed, nepotism and outright inordinate ambition, have continued to be elevated over and above the wishes of the people. This, no doubt, explains the endless cases of cross-carpeting by party members who, aggrieved by obvious injustice meted out to them by some powerful persons, have no option than to seek their political fortunes elsewhere.

It is apparent that some decampees may not be anything more than political flirts, the belief is that a majority of cross-carpeting is rooted firmly in reaction to the circumvention of rules and other acts prejudicial and, indeed, inimical to the enthronement and sustenance of internal democracy. Cases abound of questionable substitution, disqualification and reversal of nomination of previously screened and cleared candidates by an interplay of party intrigues, power display, culture of impunity and disregard for fair play and internal democracy. There has been call on political parties to work assiduously to enthrone internal democracy, for democracy to gather the relevant momentum and truly impact on the ordinary citizen, there is the inevitable need for political parties as the theatre for the nurturing of elective public officers, to purge themselves of the culture of impunity, and anti-democratic dispositions. Democracy, like charity, should begin at home and political parties ought to have imbibed the concept of democracy internally. Absence of internal democracy in the affairs of political parties robs the society of competent, diligent and transparent leadership as products of unjust and undemocratic leaders can only give what they have. The world is rapidly changing with global good practices and Nigeria as a member of the global community cannot afford to lag behind (Azeez, 2010).

Political party politics in Nigeria dates back to the colonial time, and the present-day incidences of internal party disputes associated with party politics in the country is nothing but retrogression to the past which was awash with rifts, internal strife, infighting, intrigues, violence, packing and sacking (Olaniyan, 2009). The fact remains that party politics is about contestation for political power between or among the political elites. Hence, the notion of the contest, according to Landman (2015), highlights the vague peaceful competition necessary for democratic rule, a value which imagines the validity of some opposition, the right to challenge the incumbent – the existence of free and fair elections and a consolidated party system.

Persistent internal party conflicts which come in varying degrees and forces have become the trademark of party politics in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic. Some of these conflicts have led to the fractionalization of some major political parties, resulting in the decamping of members from one political party to the other. Ahead of the 2015 general election, it is argued that no fewer than 40% of members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) defected to the newly formed All Progressives Congress (APC) at that time. As Harmel (2015) notes that in any grouping, fractions exist: `fractionalism is a fact of life within most political parties. Indeed, most parties in the world have wings or tendencies’ (Chambers, 2008), to him, fractions hold different preferences and conflicting views about party platform (Debus and Brauninger 2009). Consequently, political parties are driven by the spirit of fractio fractions are universal (Heller 2008).

On a similar note as PDP, the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), the party that has remained in power in Anambra State and has won a few elections in the South Eastern Nigeria had since 2013 started witnessing some internal fracas of power tussle that later became obvious in the build up to the Anambra 18th November election this year, another prove to the extent to which political leadership crises can shake even the most assumed strongest political party ever.

Arguably, fractionalization creates the motivation for political elites to align and re-align their political interests. Nigeria‘s Fourth Republic (May 29, 1999 to date) has been characterized more by recurring internal party conflicts resulting in fractionalization of the major political parties at the national, state and local government levels, than bequeathing a legacy of progress and development on the nation.

As Olaniyan (2009) observes that the Fourth Republic has recorded bitter and acrimonious struggles within parties as well as violent internal party relations. The high level of internal political party conflicts in the country‘s democratic system can be attributed to the mentality and view of the political elites that politics is the most lucrative industry in the country. This view is intensified by the increasing culture of impunity and flagrant disregard to the rule of law exhibited by the Nigerian political elites. Unfortunately, political parties have become veritable platforms for the political elites to capture power through elections that are often marred by fraud and other forms of irregularities. This is because the occupancy of political power gives the political elites the direct access to primitive accumulation of public wealth for their selfish gains and this has heightened the desperation for the acquisition of political power among the political elites. Nna-Emeka (2006) also corroborates this line of argument that politics in Nigeria is often conceived as a big time business to be pursued with all seriousness.

Internal party conflicts are stimulated primarily because of the unquenchable greed of the political elites for political power which creates the access for primitive accumulation of the commonwealth of the people. This damaging trend in political parties has been having profound damaging impact on Nigeria’s democratization process, development and viability. This is against the background that political parties are vehicles of representative democracy and a strong pillar for consolidating democratic governance.

Nevertheless, the ability of political parties to achieve this very vital role is highly dependent on whether the parties’ relationship with their members are harmonious or conflict ridden, owing to the fact that social groups exist by conflict and cooperation as it has been articulated in the theory of internal group cooperation.

According to Ngambi (2011), leadership is a process of influencing others’ commitment towards realizing their full potential in achieving a value-added, shared vision, with passion and integrity. The nature of this influence is such that the members of the team cooperate voluntarily with each other in order to achieve the objectives which the leader has set for each member, as well as for the group. The relationships between the leader and employee, as well as the quality of administrative performance, are significantly influenced by the leadership style adopted by the leader (Jeremy, 2011).

Leadership style in a state or country is one of the factors that play significant role in enhancing or retarding the interest and commitment of the citizens in an administration (Obiwuru et al., 2011).

 

Leaders determine values, culture, change tolerance and administrative development. They shape institutional strategies including their execution and effectiveness. Recently, many political parties in Nigeria have faced multiple crises resulting to various devastating losses in their agenda to take power. It is these crises especially as witnessed in All Progressives Grand Alliance and the Peoples Democratic Party that has necessitate a research into its developmental implications on the aforementioned political parties.

This study therefore explores the implications of leadership crises in All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on political party development in Nigeria.

  • Statement of the Problem

Liberal democracy proposed by the West as the political model for economic development appears to have proven incongruent with African experiences especially in Nigeria where the political leadership is polarized by corruption and crises so that the economy and standard of living of the masses takes the fall. It is abundantly clear that due to differences in culture, geography, political and socio-economic factors that there are no manuals or handouts on political leadership that a nation should apply to achieve their democratic leadership and economic end. While the country’s political development has witnessed the emergence of over 60 political parties in the country it is yet to boast of a proper political party or opposition capable of bringing about the desired political development and revolution desired in the country. This menace is largely because of the internal leadership crisis that has rocked these parties to its very foundations disrupting the goal it has set for its self. The PDP which had boasted it would remain in power for at least half a century had due to internal political leadership crises lost its hold on the country’s mainstream politics at a time many thought she would be a true replica of the desired democratic advancement required in the country and while APGA may seem to have survived the leadership crises that recently rocked it especially in the build up to the 2017 governorship election in Anambra State, it is not clear how they intend to manage the situation in the future. It is the uncertainty of what the future of political development holds in the country since to a large extent, a developed political party system in the country would transcend to a stronger and credible leadership emergence in the country thus solving the leadership challenge in the country that the researcher is now inquiring into the implications of this internal leadership crises on political party development in Nigeria, so that solutions can be inferred.

  • Research Questions

The following research questions are put forward for this study;

1) What is the extent of political party development in Nigeria?

2) What is the level of political leadership crises in All Progressives Grand Alliance and Peoples Democratic Party?

3) What are the implications of political leadership crises in All Progressives Grand Alliance and Peoples Democratic Party?

4) In what ways can incessant political leadership crises in political parties be curbed?

1.4     Objectives of Study

The broad objective of this study is to examine the political leadership crises in All Progressives Grand Alliance and Peoples Democratic Party and its implications for political party development in Nigeria.

Specifically, this study has the following objectives

1) To ascertain the extent of political party development in Nigeria.

2) To ascertain the level of political leadership crises in All Progressives Grand Alliance and Peoples Democratic Party.

3) To identify the implications of political leadership crises in All Progressives Grand Alliance and Peoples Democratic Party and

4) To recommend ways through which incessant political leadership crises in political parties can be curbed.