Democratic governance with its ideal of elective representation, freedom of choice of leaders, rule of law, freedom of expression, accountability etc has become the acceptable system of government all over the world. It is a form of government in which the supreme power of a political community rest on popular sovereignty. According to oyovbaire (1987) democracy as a system of government seeks to realize a generally recognized common good through a collective initiation and discussion of policy questions concerning public affairs and which delegate authority to agent to implement the broad decisions made by the people through majority vote. Thus, in contemporary times, democracy has been referred to as the expression of popular will of the political community through elected representatives. The contemporary democracy according to Raphael (1976) rest on representative government.Democratic governance in Nigeria has been a different thing when compared to what is obtainable in other part of the world. The respect for human right and the rule law which are the main features of democracy are not visible especially between 1999 and 2007; election rigging and gangsterism is the order of the day that one can hardly differentiate between democratic government and autocracy. In modern societies, political parties are very essential to political process. They have become veritable instrument or adjunct of democracy in any democratic system. Political parties are not only instrument for capturing political power, but they are also vehicles for the aggregation of interests and ultimate satisfaction of such interests through the control of government. Obviously political parties are crucial to the sustenance of democratic governance. As Agbaje (1999) notes that the extent to which political parties aggregate freely, articulate, represent and organize determines the level of accountability in public life including access to and use of power as well as politicalperformance. Merkel (1977:99) summarized the basic functions of political parties as follows:
a. Recruitment and selection of leadership personnel for government offices b. Generation of programmes and policies for government c. Coordination and control of governmental organs d. Social integration through satisfaction and reconciliation of group demands or the provision of common belief system or ideology e. Social integration of individuals by mobilization of support and by socialization.
Generally, political parties are very essential to democratic governance. It constitutes a central instrument of democratic governance. It provides the means of promoting accountability, collective action, popular participation, inclusiveness, legitimacy and accountability through the integration of their competing principles, ideologies and goals for eventual control of the government in the state. Political parties are the intermediate institution mediating the affairs of both the people and personnel and agencies that exercise state power. In Nigeria, the political parties usually are formed along ethnic, cultural, geo political and religious lines. In everyday activities of government one notices the fostering of primordial loyalties such as ethnic sensivity and overt projection of other selfish political tendencies as a result, the political class has always remained bereft of viable political ideology on which the nation’s political future could be anchored. The bankruptcy in ideology and vision has reduced party politics to a bread and butter game where monetization of political process is the bedrock of loyalty and support. This has eroded the aim of the democratic system. Since military disengaged from political power in may 1999, the PDP has dominated governance in Nigeria. After eight years of the party in government which earned the respect and admiration of most Nigerian electorates at the polls due to its programmes and policies, the party is loathed in the country. The average Nigeria encounters frustration, disillusionment and psycho moral dislocation owing to the failure of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government to deliver the expected dividends of democracy.The task of this research is to examine the role of the ruling PDP in the democratic governance in Nigeria’s fourth republic between (1999-2007).
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The emergence of democratic governance in Nigerian political system in 1999 was a land mark in the political development of Nigeria. After fifteen years of persistent dictatorship, the return of democracy was received with pump and peagentry by civil societies, labour union, civil rights organization etc. Hope was very high in the area of human right which was completely absent during the dictatorship rule. It was expected that the dividend of democracy would be realized through the political parties which are the means through which the politician reach the public and make their promises and manifestoes available to the people.This research therefore focuses on investigating the role of Nigerian political parties in democratic governance since 1999-2007 with emphasis on PDP. The investigation would be guided by the following research questions:
1. How does the circumstance leading to the emergence and formation of political parties’ impact on internal democracy in the party?
2. Did the programmes enhance democratic governance in Nigeria between 1999 and 2007?
3. How were these programmes implemented to provide good governance to the people of Nigeria?
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of the study is to highlight the role of political parties in democratic government with the ruling PDP as a case study (1999-2007). The study will critically analyze the issues as follows: 1. To examine the circumstance leading to the formation of political party and its impact on internal democracy of the party. 2. To examine the programmes of the party with a view of establishing their relevance to democratic governance. 3. To determine whether these programmes and policies were implemented with a view to enhance democratic governance.
1.4 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
For the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;
H0:there is no circumstance leading to the formation of political party and its impact on internal democracy of the party.
H1: there is circumstance leading to the formation of political party and its impact on internal democracy of the party.
H02:Programmes and policies were not implemented with a view to enhance democratic governance
H2:Programmes and policies were implemented with a view to enhance democratic governance
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This work has two aspect of significance: firstly, it will theoretically increase the existing body of knowledge in the scholarship on political parties and democratic governance in Nigeria. Secondly, the research will practically be of immense value to political leaders and policy makers in Nigeria and will also enlighten and educate the masses on responsibility of parties in democratic governance by so doing; it will go a long way in providing practical solution to some of the problems of political parties in Nigeria democratic system. Equally, the study will serve as a contribution to the measures to be taken to enhance sustainable democracy in Nigeria. Finally the study will serve as a motivation for further inquiry in the area of political parties and governance in Nigeria.
1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The scope of the study covers the role of political parties in democratic governance in Nigeria. The researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;
a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study
b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
c) Organizational privacy: Limited Access to the selected auditing firm makes it difficult to get all the necessary and required information concerning the activities.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
POLITICAL PARTY: A political party is a group of people who come together to contest elections and hold power in the government. The party agrees on some proposed policies and programmes, with a view to promoting the collective good or furthering their supporters' interests.
DAMOCRACY:Democracy, in modern usage, is a system of government in which the citizens exercise power directly or elect representatives from among themselves to form a governing body, such as a parliament.
GOVERNANCE: Governance is all of the processes of governing, whether undertaken by a government, market or network, whether over a family, tribe, formal or informal organization or territory and whether through the laws, norms, power or language of an organized society.
1.8 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows
Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.