1.1 Background of the Study
The development of political parties in Nigeria dates back to the days of the struggle for political independent in the late 1940s, when the nationalists were at the pre-independence and post-independence periods. In the pre-independence and the early post independence periods, political parties in Nigeria were not ideologically based. Rather, they were regionally based and woven around individual politicians who they saw as their mentors. In the last ten years, however parties were registered based on the exigencies of the time. This was the scenario until 1998; the need arose for parties that could usher Nigeria into a new era of democracy after over fifteen years of military rule. Historically, political parties in Nigeria have developed and still play a vital role towards the realization of the democratic objectives. Indeed, the last fifty years have seen an evolution of various political parties. From 1991-1993, Nigeria practiced a two-party system, with the government establishing the Social Democratic party (SDP) and National Republican Convention (NRC). The military government later proscribed the parties after annulling a presidential election in 1993. But Nigeria returned to democratic rule in 1999.The restoration of democratic government in 1999 led to a new approach to party politics in Nigeria. The procedure for registering political parties was liberalized, thereby, opening up the political space for mass participation in political activities in the country. Today, there are more than fifty registered political parties in Nigeria, even though only few of them have not been able to win any election. The few political parties that have dominated the political space to the point that fears are being expressed that the country was drifting towards a one-party state. Opposition parties are beginning to cross to the ruling party both at the federal and states levels.Nigeria, like many other African countries, has had its fair share of democratic challenges, but it has also recorded some achievement over the years. There have already been calls across the country for some adjustments and improvements on the way political parties are run and managed, in the years to come. Many have argued that Nigeria must necessarily adopt the methods that will guarantee the rights of its citizens to elect leaders of their choice as provided for in the country's constitution.As Nigeria consolidation its democratic framework and mechanisms, the multi-parties in Nigeria, need to exemplify a new level of commitment to the yearnings and aspirations of the people for more fundamental and sustainable development.The recently 2011 general election in Nigeria really had some sets backs and it really brought the world attention towards our political system. It also leads to them in asking some questions concerning our democratic system [voice of Nigeria on Thursday April 18th, 2013].