1.1       Background to the Study

Over twenty years after the military handed over power in Nigeria, the sixth round of national and state elections were held in March 2019. Gubernatorial and State Houses of Assembly elections took place two weeks after the national elections for president and National Assembly. Subnational elections receive limited attention in general, but especially so in sub-Saharan Africa (exceptions include Ayele, 2018; Hamalai, Egwu, and Omotola2017:  Hartmann 2004). There is in general increased interest in subnational politics following an international agenda emphasizing decentralization and localization of politics in emerging democracies, partly informed by a notion that subnational politics can represent the diversity of the population better than national politics.

Political parties are constitutionally formed to facilitate the sustenance of democratic rule. They are the instruments through which democratic process evolves. Their primary responsibilities are to, among other things, recruit and prepare candidates for elections. They check the excesses of government policies and programmes by serving as opposition to a ruling party. Importantly, they are involved in political education of the citizenry, especially in developing countries (Abdullahi, 2007). However, since the inception of the present democratic rule in 1999, political party organizations were transformed into a battle field characterized by hatred, enmity, victimization and suspicion resulting from bitter struggles among party members in their quest to achieve public and/or personal interests. The inordinate ambition of some of the party stalwarts has created political problems in the polity.

According to Elaigwu cited in Albert (2003) many of the politicians had neither understood the "rules of the game" nor had they accepted them. For many of them, politics was not a game; it was a "battle". As the rules were blatantly violated, party politics became a dangerous "game" for the atmosphere and the political arena became so polluted that in the absence of any form of ventilation, it endangered the lives of the players as well as spectators. Yet, Nigeria had political parties (in fact, many of them) but lacked the values which would make them operate in a democratic setting.

Many people have seen democratization as a major cause of political violence, holding that "the opening of democratic space throws up many groups pulling in different directions, that it causes demand overload, systemic breakdown and even violent conflict' (Bastian and Luckham, 2003). Political contestation organized around non-negotiable identity claims poses severe difficulties for democracy. And by helping politicize these claims, democracy can contribute to political polarization and ultimately violence. "To be sure, democratic states suffer from party conflicts just as others do" (IDEA, 1998). Because of the cleavages caused by the struggle for power at the various defined levels.

Awosika brilliantly argued that Party politics is poisonous. It is the politics of war not of peace; of acrimony and hatred and mudslinging not of love and brotherhood, of anarchy and discord not of orderliness and concord; it is politics of cleavages, divisions and disunity and not of cooperation, consensus and unity ... it is the politics of rascality, not of maturity, of blackmail and near gansterism not of constructive and honest contribution (Political Bureau 1987).

On several occasion, political godfathers and their proteges engaged in undemocratic ways to win election so as to gain political power by using youths as political thugs foment troubles in their respective domain. The youths that were used as cannon fodder in most of the party conflicts in the country are frustrated young school leavers who feel let down by their leaders (Albert, op. cit). The youths thus see violent conflicts as an economically beneficial enterprise that can cater for their immediate and secondary needs. The craze for power made party leaders and members to become less concerned and ideology-weary having no regard for those principles that set them and their parties apart. This situation has further worsened in the Fourth Republic; where majority of political parties have assumed similar characteristics. Party leaders are more concerned about elite interest, thus transforming government to an elitist affair without much regard for populist welfare (Zakari, 2006).

Party conflicts have existed in Nigeria before the fourth republic and have been a permanent feature among political parties in Nigeria till date. According to Eme (2011), intra-party crisis can be seen as a period of great distress, trouble and pain created in a political party due to the failure of the party concerned to provide solutions and reunite effectively its internal disagreements or conflicts. In 1962, there was crisis among the leaders of the Action Group in south west mainly between ObafemiAwolowo and Samuel LadokeAkintola. There were differences in political and economic in ideologies between Akintola and Awolowo which led to crisis between the two leaders. The conflict between Chief ObafemiAwolowo and Samuel LadokeAkintola in the first Republic had a semblance of a political situation where absence of internal democracy created severe political crisis in the post-colonial Nigeria. While Akintola, rejected and frowned at the continuous overbearing influence of Awolowo on him even as Premier of the Western region, the aftermath was the crisis arising from the disagreements between Awolowo and Akintola who later entered into an alliance with the Northern People’s Congress which was government at the center. After Akintola had emerged as the Premier of Western Region under the Action Group, he later dumped the party for his party, the Nigerian National Democratic Party, NNDP. The outcome of that feud short lived the tenure of Akintola and his NNDP (Babangida, 2011). The outcome of the crisis weakened the Action Group in the Western Region and there was an imminent collapse of the party structure because of divisions within the party that reflected cleavages within the Yoruba society (National Mirror, 2013). Also the conflicts within the Alliance of Democracy (AD) in the fourth republic led to two major factions within the party. This later led to the exit of some prominent and significant members of the party. The breakaway group created a new party, the Action Congress which later grew into the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and consequent death of Alliance of Democracy (AD).Since the military vacated from political power in May 1999, the PDP has dominated governance in Nigeria. The party has been characterized with series of intra- party conflicts till date. The major task of this research study is to investigate the inter party conflicts in the People’s Democratic Party and its effect on the future on the People’s Democratic Party (1999-2015).

According to Omitola, (2003) opined that party conflict is a permanent feature among Nigerian political parties. It has served as backdrop to the growth of Nigeria’s democracy. Egoh&Anichie (2013) stressed that internal party democracy is an issue that has consistently eluded Nigerian democracy because political parties have always been hijacked at all levels by powerful individuals who impose loyalists as candidates for election. The pervasive level of intra and inter political party crisis in the country‘s democratic system can be attributed to the state of mind and perception that politics is the most lucrative industry in the country. These believe is intensified by the growing culture of impunity and blatant disregard to the rule of law emblematized by the Nigerian political elites. Unfortunately, political parties have become veritable platforms for the political elites to assume power through elections that are often characterized with fraud and other forms of electoral malpractices. Shale and Matlosa (2008) identifies the causes of intra-party conflict to include: favouritism promoting one‘s kith and kin; unequal sharing of resources (leader‘s constituency gets a lion‘s share); lack of regular meetings; centralized authority power concentrated at the top. According to Aleyomi (2013), the PDP lacks a clear cut ideology, it has both capitalist and conservative nature without clear policy positions as a basis of popular mobilization and legitimacy of its actions. Iyare (2004) observed that there is almost nothing to choose between PDP and other parties in terms of ideological leaning.

The selection of candidates for various elective positions has led to crisis in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). A clear example is the Lagos PDP conflict that occurred in the governorship primaries in December, 2014. There was rift between MusiliuObanikoro and the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party in Lagos. Obanikoro accused the leadership of the party (PDP) of backing another governorship aspirant in Jimi Agbaje. According to Aleyomi (2013) the case of intra-party democracy in the People Democratic Party (PDP) cannot lay claim to democratic consolidation if it continues with the current mode of organizing her primaries most especially during the 2011 Presidential primary and the Party National Convention in 2013. A case study was when Prof. Charles Soludo, the former Central Bank of Nigeria’s director was imposed as Anambra State governorship candidate by the National Executive party. The act generated hostility and several petitions among the PDP members in the state. This led to the creation of several factions within the party in the state and cross carpeting of some members to another party. The imposition of BamangaTukur as the past chairman of the People Democratic Party was against the wish and consent of the people who had voted massively in favour of Babayo but he was eventually short changed (Aleyomi:2013:291-292).

The non-adherence to the zoning arrangement by the PDP members has also led to serious crisis in the party. It has led to division and crisis with the North and south. The northern members in the People’s Democratic Party claimed that it was still their turn to produce the next president after the demise of Yar’adua while majority of the member in the People’s Democratic Party from the south claimed that the demise of Yar’adua marked the end of zoning arrangement in the PDP. There was also crisis in the Rivers state Peoples Democratic Party, some governorship aspirants have accused the Party’s executive led by Felix Obuah as the chairman of the party in the state of imposition. They accused Felix Obuah led executive of imposing NyesomWike as the governorship candidate and not strictly adhering to the zoning arrangement (Leadership Newspaper, September 28, 2014).

According to Okoli (2001:2), several factors have led to conflicts, instability and intra party opposition within the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) like personal difference clash of socio economic interest, lack of party discipline, influence of money politics, the power of incumbency and the failure of the party leaders to manage the afore mention factors have generated into conflicts, instability and intra-party opposition within the People’s Democratic Party. According to Nwodo (Punch Newspaper, 2010:19), “for the People’s Democratic Party to experience growth and development internal democracy must be strictly adhered to”. In that regard, to OlisaMetuh, opine that the failure of the People’s Democratic Party to manage its internal crisis might lead to the implosion of the party and someday might be in opposition (The Nation, 2010:13). The internal crises in the People’s Democratic Party have led to many prominent members and founding fathers decamping to opposition parties. Notable among them are AtikuAbubakar, AuduOgbeh, Vincent Ogbulafor, RabiuKwakwanso, Chief Oyinlola, Chief Awoniyi, Segun Oni, Aminu Bello Masari among others. At the national level, there was crisis between President OlusegunObasanjo and his vice, AtikuAbubakar. There were different allegations and counter allegations between them mostly based on corruption (Ikelegbe 2012:29). In 2013, there were crisis in the People’s Democratic Party; most notable was the crisis that erupted during their convention which led to the creation of New Peoples Democratic Party led by KawuBaraje. The members of the New Peoples Democratic Party were against the leadership style of BamagaTukur who was then the party chairman. The notable members of the New Peoples Democratic Party were AlhajiAtikuAbubakar, Chief OlagunsoyeOyinlola, Sam Jaja, and seven governors RotimiAmaechi (Port Harcourt); AliyuWammako(Sokoto State); Rabiukwakwanso (Kano); SuleLamido (Jigawa); Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara); BabangidaAliyu (Niger); MurtalaNyako (Adamawa) (Punch Newspaper, September 1st, 2013).

1.2       Statement of the Problem

In Nigerian political system, politicians see politics as a do-or-die game and thus they play it through the manipulation of political parties which is seriously lamentable. They employ all means at their disposal to “win” power most especially through varying degrees of electoral malpractices and political intimidation. Electoral malpractice is inevitable when there is malpractice in the party systems. In the revolution of “change”, all these must be critically looked into and a positive solution should be proffered. However, this study intent to gaudily examines party politics and crisis management in Nigeria party system a case study of the People’s Democracy Party.

1.3       Research Questions

            The following research questions were raised to guide the study;

                    i.            What has been the effect of political party conflict on People’s Democratic Party in Nigeria today?

                  ii.            What is positive effect of political crisis management to the development and growth of Nigeria political parties?

                iii.            What can be done to minimize political party conflict among People’s Democratic Party?

1.4       Objective of the Study

The objective of this research study is to investigate the party politics and crisis management in Nigeria party system (A case study of the People’s Democratic Party). Thus the objectives of the research study are to;

                    i.            investigate the effect of political party conflict on the People’s    Democratic Party in Nigeria today.

                  ii.            examine the effect of political crisis management to the development and growth of Nigeria political party system and

                iii.            find out possible solutions to minimize political party conflict among People’s Democratic Party

1.5       Research Hypotheses

            The following research hypotheses were formulated;

                                i.            There is no significant relationship between the political party conflict and People’s Democratic Party in Nigeria.

                              ii.            There is no significant relationshipbetween the effect of political crisis management to the development and growth of Nigeria political parties.

                            iii.            There is no significant relationshipbetween how to minimize political party conflict and People’s Democratic Party members.

1.6       Significance of the Study

This research study will theoretically add to the existing and present body of academic knowledge on party politics and crisis management in Nigeria party system. The research study will also practically be of huge significance to political leaders and policy makers in Nigeria and will also inform and educate the masses on the functions and duties of political parties in democratic governance. The research study will provide enduring solutions to some of the challenges of political parties in Nigeria democratic system.

1.7       Scope of the Study

               This research work is restricted to the party politics and crisis management in Nigeria party system. However, as a result of time frame for this research work, the  People’s Democratic Party would be sampled for this research study, based on the fact that they have members’ all over the thirty – Six including FCT Abuja.



1.8          Limitation of the study

The research study was limited by dearth of materials and time, but it has not hampered the successful outcome of the research study.

1.9       Definition of Terms

Politics: In this study, it is the process by which groups make collective decisions. It is the activity by which differing interests within a given unit of rule are conciliated by giving them a share in power in proportion to their importance to the welfare and the survival of their community.

Political Party: This is defined as  an organized group of people who share similar political opinions, principles, interests and beliefs with the aim of gaining political power and governing the country.

Crisis: This is any event that is going (or is expected) to lead to an unstable and dangerous situation affecting an individual, group, community, or whole society. Crises are deemed to be negative changes in the security, economic, political, societal, or environmentalaffairs, especially when they occur abruptly, with little or no warning. More loosely, it is a term meaning "a testing time" or an "emergency event".

Crisis Management: This is the process by which an organization deals with a disruptive and unexpected event that threatens to harm the organization or its stakeholders. The study of crisis management originated with the large-volumes of industrial and environmental disasters in the 1980s. It is considered to be the most important process in public relations.

1.10     Organization of the study

          Chapter one introduces the subject matter of the research work. It includes the background of the study, statement to problem, research question, objective of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope of the study, limitation of the study, definition of terms and organisation of the study. Chapter two focuses on the literature review by giving conceptual clarification, meaning of party crisis, causes of party conflict, implications of party conflicts, theoretical framework and summary of the reviewed literature among other

This chapter three presents a research methodology of the study, this includes: research design, population, sample and sampling techniques, research instruments, validation of the research instrument, reliability of the instruments, administration of the instrument and data analysis.

            Chapter four focuses on the results and discussion of findings and Chapter five was based on summary, conclusion and recommendations.



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