PROJECT TOPIC- PARTY CRISIS IN NIGERIAN DEMOCRACY (A CASE STUDY OF EBONYI STATE FROM 2003-2005)
- BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The annexation of Lagos in 1861 prepared the ground for British colonialism in Nigeria. This eventually led to the amalgamation of the southern and Northern protectorates to form Nigerian state. Although the amalgamation was successful, it was primarily for administrative convenience and diversity and complexity associated with the multi ethnic nature of the Nigerian state was completely ignored.
According to Egbo (2002:24) “the aspect of the federal structure that was intended to ameliorate this incidence was ineffectual due to local inexperience in governing and managing of modern political structure and institution”. This situation precipitated political intolerance, suspicion, oppression, fear of dominance, victimization and other forms of organized lawlessness in the country.
It is the light of the above that some beholders described Nigeria as “a mere geographical expression” and “the mistake of 1914”. At independence in 1960, it was clear that all was not well. It was a matter of time for the time bomb to explode. It was candid that the inheritors of government from the British have nothing to offer to consolidate the nation. Issues bordering on the existence of the multi-ethnic Nigeria were either completely ignored or swept under the carpet.
The predominant ethnic groups in Nigeria started scrambling for the Lions share of the national cake and in the inevitable doom that have been rolling, several political quagmires occasioned by greed, intolerance and sycophantic praises among the political actors have been the order of the day in Nigeria. The issue of political party-crisis in Nigeria is quite tropical. It is a problem that is of immense concern to us due to the destabilizing effect it has on the political system.
It has been observe as an immense obstacle that have been confronting the nation body polity with its devastated effects, as it do escalate into different and more intense dimension of violence when it is been ignored at its nascent stage. According to Ojo (2005) “nothing has proved to be greater cause of our democratic failure since independence more than party-crisis: The failure to nip such crisis on the bud.
When they show signs, or manage them to a resolution when they blossom have spill over effects for both democracy and nation building. Hence, the remote cause of the Nigerian civil war in 1967 was hinge on the intra-party crisis in Action Group which led to the opportunistic alliance by the other rival parties of NPC and NCNC that then triggered off civil unrest on Western Nigeria.
This then fuelled the first coup d’etat in our troubled history, which eventually led to the time horrendous civil war that nearly resulted to the dismemberment of the nation. Today, after forty-six years of independence and with the democracy in inception, the problem of political party-crisis is still very much with us here. Ebonyi state is in the eye of the storm because of the political jingoism that engulfed the state.
Therefore, attention is shifted from providing the basic necessities of life of the people to solving political problems between fictionalized groups in the state political party. The federal government, apparently confused by the spate of political incompatibility in Nigeria declared a National conference to sort out the differences and make recommendations but, because of loss of credibility by the organizers, as well as, irreconcilable differences among the delegates rendered the whole exercise and its recommendations to futility.
This ugly phenomenon in our political system jeopardizes the continued existence of the country. More so, it was in the light of the above factors and more others that threaten the existence of the country, with the view to avert future repetition of such fatalistic that this study was undertaken.
PROJECT TOPIC- PARTY CRISIS IN NIGERIAN DEMOCRACY (A CASE STUDY OF EBONYI STATE FROM 2003-2005)
- STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The issue of political party-crisis would not have been taken seriously if it were limited to the political actors without the populace feeling the impact. Times without numbers, it was innocent Nigerian that fell victim of the wreck occasioned by political violence in Nigeria. Experience has show that Nigerian politicians do not help matters during political events as they equip jobless Nigerian youth with: guns, bows, arrows and matches to maim and kill people and destroy properties in pursuance of their selfish political ambitions.
Issues bordering on national unity, nation building, stable economy for better standard of living is completely ignored. Furthermore, there are established facts that irreconcilable differences among political actors, factionalism within and between party members in political party, electoral malpractices and sycophancy are political evils that engender political party crisis. Political party-crisis has created an avenue for selfish politicians to propagate their interests at the expense of the welfare of Nigerians.
Political party crisis is a cankerworm that eats deep into the fabrics of the nation’s solidarity. More importantly, the following are the research questions that arise as a result of the above-mentioned statement of the problems. Providing answers to them will help to address the incidence of political party-crisis in the country.
- Do Nigerian state partially involves itself in political struggles that goes on in it?
- Do poverty and greed among party members lead to political party-crisis in Nigeria?
- Do no common political beliefs by party members lead to political party-crisis in Nigeria.?
- Can the incident of party-crisis be substantially ameliorate in Nigeria without a radical transformation of our socio-economic formation?
- OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main trust of the study is to highlight the reasons responsible for political party-crisis in Nigeria, its effects and dangers if not treated terminally.
Summarily, the purpose of this research work includes:
- To attempt an explanation of factors responsible for the eruption of party-crisis in Nigeria using Ebonyi state as a case study.
- To find out ways in which party crisis affect the standard of democracy in Nigeria. In doing this, the work has to focus primarily on the role of the police, INEC and other state apparatus as it affects the 2003 general elections and thereafter in Nigeria.
- To state clearly the implication of allowing political party-crisis unchecked in Nigerian political system.
- To make suggestions and necessary recommendations, proffer solutions, which if properly implemented will help to check and arrest the incident of political party-crisis in Nigerian democracy.
- significance of the study
As earlier noted, the issue of political party-crisis in Nigeria has remained a national phenomenon with its destabilizing effect on the fragile political arrangement bequeathed the country at independence by colonial regimes. Crisis at election and thereafter is a recurring decimal in our national life and any proffered solution therefore, will be of immense value to government, police unit, the bureaucrats, politicians, political scientists, the citizens and the entire spectrum of social science that deals with human behaviour and crisis management.
The misrepresentation of facts, lies and selfish display of wealth by political opportunities who hold innocent citizens to the unwholesome political miscarriage; the implications of which they do not know. It is pertinent to point that on the completion of this work by the researcher, the work will help other readers and Nigerian public who are not well informed or, have the opportunity to fully grasp the issue at stake to know without much difficulties the nature of political agenda which Nigerian politicians have for us.
Therefore, it must be noted that given the prevailing circumstance in Ebonyi state, political party-crisis has the same effect in all other states in Nigeria. The study will also update knowledge, within the sphere of reference concerned hence, it will serve as a reference point to further researchers. At the end of the study, the work will show the possible avenue towards curbing this recurring problem of political party-crisis for the survival of the geo-politics called Nigeria.
- SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
The study covers the important areas of Ebonyi state mainly the old thirteen local government areas. It covers the relevant hot zones in the state including the three senatorial zones. This work also covers the necessary locations where political party-crisis has become a household language since political situations, given the prevailing circumstances in Nigeria, is the same. The conclusions drawn from Ebonyi state will be used to assess and examine other states in Nigeria.
As regards the reports and data analysis, areas of concentration will include, personal inspection of the aftermath of political violence, interviews and reports from journals and periodicals. The study does not intend to involve the computation of all variables as this will amount to deviation but selected ones will be computed and will depend on their degree of relevance to the study. Ordinarily, in a work of this nature, it would have been better if wider areas are covered but the reason to limit the area of concentration to Ebonyi state is predicated to certain unavoidable realities. These realities are:
- THE CONSTRAINTS OF TIME: Since the data to be collected will be primary based on personal interview and administering of questions, the time lag constrain can hardly be avoided.
- FINANCIAL PROBLEM: The researcher apart from meeting his other academic requirements is also constrained by the financial implications of embarking on exhaustive research.
- The researcher is also constrained by the physical capacity to cover a spectrum beyond the area of focus.
More so, conducting research in third world countries could be anything but easy. The problem associated with research generally is always compounded by the complete lack of data collection or its inadequacy. Other problems associated with research work like this one that embarks on emotionally charged topics as rivalry and cleavages in political party, voting behaviour, among others, are as follows:
- It is evident that most documents will be tagged ‘confidential’ in order to ward off enquires on them.
- The fear that the information provided to the research might get into the hands of their political opponents. This prevents politicians from giving accurate and adequate information.
- The fear on the part of ordinary Nigerians to expose the politicians on the tendency of victimization.
The above understanding may affect the generalization of the results or conclusion as the researcher cannot but depend on the truthfulness of the respondents in this study. This fact is made even obvious by the fact that the study is delving into historical perspective to understand the problems of today. Also it is possible that the respondents might have lost touch with definite minutes issues that happened over some years. This obvious truth has the potency to affect the reliability and validity of the conclusion.
Based on the foregoing realities similarly, the study is focus on the issue of political party-crisis during and after the 2003 electioneering campaigns, voting period and thereafter until 2005. In order to appropriately posits his postulation, the researcher decided to do a case study of Ebonyi state which lead itself to an easily determinant study.
- RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
The following research hypotheses are postulated based on the adopted model “post-colonial state” and from the research questions, as an avenue to analyzing the frame of reference: party-crisis in Ebonyi State. On this strength the hypothesis stands to be accepted or rejected.
HO: Partial involvement of the Nigerian state in the political struggles does not increase crisis eruption in the political party’s activities.
Hi: Partial involvement of the Nigerian state in the political struggles does increase crisis eruption in the political party’s activities.
HO: Poverty and greed among party members do not lead to political party-crisis in Nigeria.
Hi: Poverty and greed among party members lead to political party-crisis in Nigeria.
HO: Adherence to varied political beliefs by party members do not increase party crisis in Nigeria.
Hi: Adherence to varied political beliefs by party members increase party-crisis in Nigeria.
HO: A radical transformation of socio-economic formation would not substationally reduce the incidence of crisis in Nigerian party politics.
Hi: A radical transformation of Nigerian socio-economic formation can substantially reduce the incidence of crisis in Nigerian party politics.
- THEOETICAL FRAMEWORK
No research work in political science has gained its popular attention without solid theories to support the validity and authenticity of the empirical study. Therefore, theoretical framework is an organized procedure through which events are decided or explained. Several theories are adopted such as: Elite theory, Group theory, Conflict theory, Post-colonial state theory and Power theory.
But for the purpose of this research work, emphasis will be on Post-colonial state Theory as theoretical pillar to explain and buttress its application. The theory has its derivation from the Marxist perspective. The theory gained its potency at the last phase of colonialism and its proponents include; V.I Lenin, Claude Ake, Hamza Alavi, J. Charvert, among others. Hamza Alavi was accredited as the formal postulator of the theory. The general orientation of the theory incorporates two central and connected assumptions.
- Post-colonial states at the dawn of independence only succeeded to experienced flag independence while the material base of social life upon which everything depends is still under the control of the imperialist. This means that what was bequeathed to the people at independence was a highly developed state and underdeveloped economy. This contradiction between the highly developed state and underdeveloped economy accounts for increasing resort to crisis in the activities of political parties in the state political system.
- Conflict is a natural inevitability of every stratified society. The state exist to mediate on this conflict but, the position and function of the post-colonial states in these struggles and antagonism become central and deceive instead of being neutral and regulatory. This is because the economic base of those in control of the state are insecure and narrow and as a result, they give high premium to the acquisition of state power as a means of their economic survival.
Based on the above explanation of the post-colonial state theory, one will vividly understand that Ebonyi state as a case study is engulfed by political party-crisis before 2003 general elections as a result of the high premium the political actors (senate president, Anyim Pius Anyim and Governor Sam Egwu) give to the acquisition of the state power and on who will control the resources of the state, which is the basic element of social life.
Moreover, one will understand why Ebonyi State get immersed into its political struggles during the 2003 general elections and avail its structures and instruments in favour of (PDP) at the expense of its rival parties (ANPP) and others. Therefore, party crisis arises in the political system of Ebonyi state due to the irreconcilable political beliefs of the party members on how to acquire and manage the power and resources of the state.
- OPERATIONAL DEFINITIONS
In the course of this study, certain terms or concepts will be met. For the purpose of understanding and clarification, it is then necessary to identify, define and explain these terms as regard to this study. Such terms or concepts are:
- Party-Crisis: This can be defined as a time of difficulty or distress, strain or emergency created in a political system due to the inability of a political party to resolve its internal or external differences or disputes. Political party – crisis may be:
- Intra-party crisis: It is a time of great difficulty or distress, strain or emergency created in a political system due to the inability of political party to resolve its internal differences or disputes.
- Inter-party crisis: It is a time of great difficulty, strain or distress; however, this time around it is often a result of situation whereby contending parties to electoral competition refuse to abide with the outcome of such election.
- POLITICAL ACTORS OR POLITICIANS:
The two terms are used inter-changeably in this work. A politician is one who takes active participation in the political activities of any state. For one to be a politician, he or she must be a registered and a card-bearing member of a registered political party and abide by the rules and regulations guiding the party. He must in most cases contest for or sponsor a candidate for political office.
- DEMOCRACY: Democracy is a principle of government in which all citizens share in the act of governance through their elected representatives. It is a government whereby every individual is allowed to voice out his or her opinion.
- POST-COLONIAL STATE: It is a state that emerged as a result of the organic link of the third world economics with inter-national capitalist. The state are independent politically but their economy in which everything is base are subjugated and control by the imperialist west.