A political party is an association of people who hold similar views about what should be a community or society’s social and economic priorities and come together to establish these priorities by gaining control of the machinery of government (Derbyshire & Darlyshire, 1991:13a). Modern political parties, whose predecessors were cliques and factions, are products of the eighteenth century onwards. They display three essential features; one, a permanent structure and organization; two, an authority to represent people, whatever or not they are( card carrying) members of the party, based open elections; and three; an intention to form a government or participate in government.
Political parties have an important role to play in a democracy. In fact, it is mostly through them that two important attributes of democracy, free and fair elections and right to run office (Dahl, 1989:221) can be actualized.
Since Nigeria’s independence in 1960, there has not been much practice with party politics in the country. This was due to largely to the incursion of the military into the political realm beginning only six years after independence when major Kaduna Nzeogwu staged the first military coup. Prior to this time, there was party politics in the first republic and some of the parties that completed for political power were the Action Group (AG), National Council for Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC), and the Nigeria People’s Congress (NCP) (Sklar, 1983). Later, between 1979 and 1983 during the second republic, the political parties that completed were National Party of Nigeria (NPN), The Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), The Nigeria Peoples party (NPP), The Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), and The Great Nigeria Peoples Party (GNPP) (Ayeni and Soremakun, 1958; Faldla & Ihonvbere, 1985).
Under President Ibrahim Babaginda’s transition to civic rule programme(1984-1993), and after several attempts at party formation, outside the preview of government, the bitched Third Republic was saddled with two government established and registered parties-The Social Democratic parties (SDP), and the National Republican Convention (NRC). During General Sanni Abacha’s regime (1993-1998), there also attempt at party formation with The United Nigeria Congress Party (UNCP), The Congress for National Consensus (CNC), The Democratic Party of Nigeria (DPN), The National Centre Party of Nigeria (NCPN) and The Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) participating in that regime’s transition programme (Lipsat, 2000).
Within inauguration of the Fourth Republic in 1999, three political parties were formed and it was through the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alliance for Democracy (AD), and All Peoples Party (APP) that the politicians contested for election in various states o the federation. These political parties, as political institutions, are very critical to success and sustenance of democracy considering the widely held view that indeed, Nigeria as only undergone a handover from military to civic rule and that the transition to democracy proper is only now beginning. (IDEA, 2000).
Unlike the 1999 elections that ushered in the Fourth Republic, the 2003 general elections presented another opportunity for transition from one civilian government to another. In that election, about 29 political parties contested for elective post, which was unprecedented in history of election in Nigeria. The electoral body that oversees the elections was the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) and was chaired by Maurice Iwu (Aderemi, 2005).
The 2007 polls individual by the same regime and the first ever civilian- civilian transition in the political history, lack of preparedness on the part of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) and the acrimonious inter and intra-party squabbles, it was clear that the elections were jinxed from the outset. Also, the 2011 elections was not an exception. It was a similar experience. The 2015 general elections was the fifth and most competitive elections since transition from military rule in 1999. For the first time, the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was challenged by a new unified opposition party, the All Progressive Congress (APC), which was formed in February, 2013 by the four biggest opposition parties. The emergence of the APC prompted political realignment across the country resulting in a head-to-head electoral competitive between the two main parties. Apart from PDP and APC, 25 small parties participated in the elections (Henry 2015). Eventually, the APC won the presidential election and it establishes the government that is currently piloting the affairs of the nation. Of course, the achievements is seen or perceived different. While some argues that the APC president has done creditably well, others disagreed.
The study therefore, gives an insight into the 2019 Presidential election in Nigeria. It will unveil how the PDP and the APC draw attention to the importance of credible elections
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Nigeria’s return to civil rule and democratic system of government is a relief to many political observers and any (academic) exercise that will contribute to improving the quality of her democracy is to be enthusiastically welcomed. This study is one of such attempts to examine a critical institution in any democracy –the political party- with a view to improving political parties and sustaining democracy in Nigeria. Thus, the centrality of political parties contest for political power in true democracies recommends this study. The study is also important since it is expected to be educative for the general public about what to expect in the forthcoming 2019 presidential election, which is the second term of the APC government in Nigeria.
Mindful of political parties as crucial institutions of democracy whose impact and activities may make or mark democratic aspirations and development, especially in developing multi-ethnic states like Nigeria, the postulations into APC 2019 presidential election shows the efficacy of the opposition in democratic governance. In other words, there is an urgent need to sharpen party opposition accountability, transparency, equity and justice. Of course, since 2015, there have been different agitations on the expectation of Nigerians from the APC government. All the ‘change mantra’ has not been positively seen in the entire fabric of the society. This raises various issues, agitations, lamentations and epitome of frustration.
Related to the issue of political parties are the instruments (usually documents) through which parties articulate their perceptions of community priorities and make promises, on the basis o which they woo voters during elections via manifestoes. A manifesto consists of a statement of policy issued by a political party in the form of election address to constituents (Craig quoted in Bello-Imam, 1991). It is the basis on which political parties differentiates themselves. Thus manifestoes determine to a great extent, citizens electoral behavior and the fate of political parties during elections.
Therefore, the study seeks to make a critical investigation on the achievements on the APC-led government and postulate on the likely happening in the 2019 Presidential election.
1.3 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
The general objective of the study is to analyse political parties and the politics of second term of the APC. In this respect, the specific objectives include the following;
i. To analyse political parties and their manifestoes especially in relation to the basis of their formation and their rule in the substance of democracy.
ii. To examine the development process and operation or activities of the APC in order to prognosis into the 2019 Presidential election.
iii. To critically analyse the contents of the APC manifestoes that brought them into power in 2015. iv. To identify any problem, if any, inhibiting the effective or efficient delivery of the electoral promises in 2015,
v. To make recommendations towards the consideration of APC in the 2019 general elections, in order for them to sustain democracy in Nigeria beyond 2019.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
I. What is the basis of formation and rules of the political parties’ vis-à-vis their manifestoes in the substance of democracy?
II. What are the development process and operation of activities of the APC in an attempt to prepare for 2019 presidential election?
III. What is the content of the APC manifestoes that brought them into power in 2015?
IV. What has been the effective and efficient delivery of the electoral promises in 2015?
V. How can the democracy be sustained in Nigeria beyond 2019?
1.5 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The scope of the study is to examine and assess the performance of APC –led government of General Muhammad Buhari since 2015 till date. It also postulates and prognosis into likely outcome and unfolding reality of the APC presidential election for the second term bid
1.6 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
This study employs secondary sources of data collection to get the requisite information; the content analysis of relevant documents to the issues under consideration will be done. Thus, journal articles, textbooks, newspapers, magazines, internet materials and related materials will be adequately used to analyze the issue under review.
1.7 OUTLINE OF CHAPTERS
Chapter One introduces the essence of the study in providing a Background to the study, Statement of the research problem, Research objectives, Research questions, Literature review and Theoretical framework.
Chapter Two focuses on the Literature review and the theoretical framework.
Chapter Three examines the formation of APC, the party manifestoes, and the political philosophy of the party, the party leadership and membership, the composition of the national and state leadership.
Chapter Four borders on the APC presidential victory in the 2015 election, Appraisal of the achievements, Performance of the party at National and State level, insights into 2019 Presidential elections; Party internal Democracy.
Chapter Five rounds up the discourse in form of Summary, Conclusion, Recommendations.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Politics: the activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power.
Consolidation: to become, or cause something to become, stronger, united and more certain
Election: An election is a formal group decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual to hold public office
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