The Effects of intra party crisis in the 2019 governorship election in IMO state


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1.1 Background of the Study

Political parties are constitutionally formed to facilitate the establishment and 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. And importantly, they are involved in political education of the citizenry, especially in developing countries (Abdullahi, 2007:35). 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 (2003:26) 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. The parties that were established came into being through a rushed process in order to get the military to hand over power. The strong urge to get the soldiers out of governance took the priority position and there was little time to form parties that were genuinely democratic (IDEA, 2000:120). The parties reflected a combination of different tendencies with little or no shared ideological commitments. What is perhaps worthy of note is that these parties are essentially composed of strange bedfellows, relations are mostly informed by self-interest of the amalgamating associations, hence a weak internal cohesion (Muhammad, 2006:204). The Nigerian situation, exhibiting a dearth of ideology especially following the recognition of a harvest of parties, and close to the 2003 elections saw aspirants carpet crossing from one party to another for the flimsy and often selfish reasons to satisfy their ambitions. This led to a situation where even last minute joiners became party presidential and gubernatorial flag bearers (Okoosi -Simbine, 2004:95) Nigerian politicians are yet to cultivate the politics of accommodation that is partially practiced in the developed Western democracies. Poverty is a disease that breeds an acute sense of insecurity, and Nigerian political elites perceive political appointment as its antidote, which explains why they approach election as if it were a do or die affair (Ogunba, 1997:396). The ulterior motive for contesting elections is primarily self-aggrandizement. Politicians sought office more for ambition and selfish interest than to serve the people. Be that as it may, political violence is almost importantly a product of a struggle for power among various group within the society. In Nigeria, the possession of political power leads directly to economic power, hence power seekers can do anything to achieve political power basically to improve their economic status and wellbeing (Joseph, 1999). Those who hold position in the power structure determine the location and distribution of scarce resources. Exclusion from this power position is hence very costly. Dudley cited in Azeez (2005:21) aptly explained why this is so: … the shortest cut to affluence and influence is through politics. Politics means money and money means politics. To get politics, there is always a price … To be a member of the government party means an open avenue to government patronage, contract deals and the like. He goes on: But once, having known the probability of having power, the party (and the individual members) naturally uses the same governmental machinery to stay in power. The leadership becomes a self-recruiting oligarchy and no self-recruiting oligarchy has been known to tolerate opposition to itself (Dudley 1973). More importantly, when the individuals and groups could not achieve their objectives through the normal democratic political processes of voting, parties or machine politics, and given the stifling of electoral competition and the forced entrenchment of the ruling elites in power, the prospects of realizing their goals and aspirations through non-violent tactics must have seemed increasingly dim. As a result, violence emerged as the ultimate alternative for those concerned. To Anifowoshe (1982:21), political violence is often a natural concomitant of the political process, particularly where there is a fierce competition over the sharing of power. 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, 2003:38). 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, 1998:13). Because of the cleavages caused by the struggle for power at the various defined levels. Awosika brilliantly argued: 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 occasions, 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 canon 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, 2006:152). The pattern of party politics between 1999 and 2007 indicates the nature and the character of inter and intra-party relations among the registered political parties in the country. As at last count, 30 political parties were recognized by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to contest elections into various political posts. In order not to overstretch the limits of this thesis, the parties can be grouped into major and minor parties. With regard to party crises, while the APGA, AD and ANPP, are experiencing low-level crises, the PDP, which is the ruling party, tends to be having the most threatening spates of fragmentation both at the state and national levels. How else can one explain the crisis within the Anambra State PDP in July 2003, where factions have resorted to using all means possible including the abduction of the state governor, destruction of property and using the instrumentality of police? “This is even worsened by the inability of the Nigerian State to deploy its coercive power to restore normalcy in that state” (Muharnmed, op. cit). Just as the PDF reels from one crisis to another, same applies to other parties as the ANPP, AD and APGA have at various times been engulfed by series of crises which, in some cases, resulted in the defection of some of their members to other parties. As regards inter-party relations, there is no denying the fact that (they are) more of a cat-and-mouse game. While the ruling PDP is wary and critical of any move or opinion by other parties, so are other parties at every available opportunity raining invectives on the PDP-led government. (The Punch, October 9, 2003). It needs be noted that those parties (AD, APGA and ANPP) together with minor parties such as (NCP, MDJ, JP and PAC) formed an umbrella association called, Congress of all Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) which serves as a platform for opposing policies and programmes of the ruling party which they consider inimical to good governance. While politics of opposition parties is part and parcel of the political process in a democracy, in Nigeria this has continued to be played along a dangerous path even to the point of constituting a threat to the democratic project. Even at the state level, the situation is not in any way different and is at times worse than what obtains at the national level. This is because, inter-party relations in some states often take the form of violent confrontations among party faithful, leading to the destruction of lives and property of citizens. That was the case in states such as Lagos, Kwara, Borno, Ekiti, Rivers and Edo, among others, prior to the 2003 general elections and even after the elections (Lawal, 2005). These situations, are unhealthy in a context where parties are expected to assist in integrating a fragmented society, engender political communication and be in the vanguard for the realization of the much-desired dividends of democracy by the citizens. It is in view of the foregoing that this present study intends to examine party conflicts in Nigeria and their implications towards democratic consolidation using the events between 1999 and 2019 as a focal point of analysis. 1.2 Statement of the Problem

In a liberal democracy, the right to freely associate is given, but the abuse of that fundamental right comes to the fore when those associations are to properly serve the people that voted them into office. Political parties have sadly become hired vehicles for chieftains to move from pillars to post in a desperate move to be in office for power and money rather than for service thereby affecting the essence of governance. The conduct of gubernatorial Primaries by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) in 2019 governorship election in Imo State has been marred by irregularities and flaws. The improper conduct of this important segment of internal democracy became a great challenge facing the party which has its root from the zero sum nature of politics in the state, godfatherism, money politics, powerful influence of elite, incumbency factor, exclusiveness of rank-and-file members in party primaries and infact; this has left in its wake wanton destruction of party ideology, democratic practices and values, lives and properties. Not only that, intra-party politics has become an issue of serious concern in Imo State as a result of authoritarian nature and character of political parties. For instance, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) could not adopt an open system that will not only allow its members to select their candidates but also give them unrestricted opportunity to contest in elections under the party‘s platform. This kind of political restriction has increasingly resulted in wrangling, recrimination and acrimony. The bankruptcy in ideology and principles within the party has made party politics a-do-or-die affair, a source of political liability and decay. Carpet-crossing and non-issue based statements have become the order of the day. As a result of irregularities in the conduct of PDP and APGA governorship primaries, which has to do with the imposition of candidates, substitution of candidates‘ names in INEC some weeks to the general elections, submission of names to INEC of candidates who were defeated at the primary election, neglecting rank-and-file members in most decisions affecting party primaries, the party has been bedeviled by crises in varying proportions, ranging from distrust among members, instability of the democracy, political thuggery, inter-party defections, anti-party politics, verbal warfare and physical violence to mention just few. This study therefore, examines the effect of intra party crisis in the 209 governorship election in Imo State.

1.3 Research Question

This study was guided by the following research questions;

i. What is the nature of intra-party politics in PDP and APGA Imo State Chapter with regard to its gubernatorial election in 2019? ii. To what extent has the conduct of PDP and APGA Imo State Gubernatorial election in Imo State conformed to the internal democracy requirements as contained in the Electoral Act, indices of candidate‘s selection as well as the constitution of the party in 2019?

iii. What are the factors that influenced party members to vote for a particular candidate during Gubernatorial Primaries of Peoples Democratic Party in ImoState between 1999 and 2015?

iv. Are there manifestations of irregularities as claimed by some party members in the conduct of gubernatorial election PDP and APGA in Imo State in 2019?

v. What are the implications of the absence of the observance of democratic principles in the conduct of PDP and APGA Imo State Chapter to the development of Nigerian democracy?

1.4 Objectives of the Study

The main aim of this research is to critically examine the nature, character, manifestations and dynamics of intra-party politics in Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) Imo state chapter so as to provide a framework for the systematic evaluation of gubernatorial election not only in Imo state but the country at large. In order to answer the research questions above, the study seeks to achieve the following objectives:

i. To examine the nature of intra-party politics in PDP and APGA Imo State Chapter with regards to its 2019 Gubernatorial election.

ii. To critically analyse the extent to which the conduct of PDP and APGA Gubernatorial Primaries in Imo State conform to the internal democracy requirements as contained in the Electoral Act (2010 as ammended), indices of candidate‘s selection as well as the constitution of the party..

iii. To find out some of the factors that influence party members to vote for a particular candidate during Gubernatorial Primaries of Peoples Democratic Party and All Progressive Grand Alliance in Imo State in 2019.

iv. To examine whether or not irregularities have been manifested in the conduct of Gubernatorial Primaries of Peoples Democratic Party and All Progressive Grand Alliance in 2019 governorship election Imo State.

v.. To discuss the implications of the absence of the observance of democratic principles in the conduct of PDP and APGA Gubernatorial Primaries to the development of democracy in a developing nation like Nigeria.

1.5 The Significance of the Study

The research is of significance due to the fact that, it is aimed at examining intra-party politics in Imo state and suggesting possible ways in order to come up with the means of conducting proper gubernatorial primaries not only in the State but also the country at large. Infact, intra-party politics within the PDP and APGA in Nigeria‘s fourth republic is a topic of interest among students of political science today because; it is an on-going phenomenon and so there are a lot to discuss about the nature and character of the party. This is also associated to the fact that PDP and APGA has dominated the national politics since from 1999-2019 at both federal and state level and yet, it has not been sufficiently studied by academic research. Even where studies on the party have been made such were mostly on pages of newspapers and workshops. Hence, this study will contribute significantly to the body of knowledge Aside that, the significance of this research has manifested in the sense that, the literature reviewed were mostly on inter and intra-party politics in Nigeria. The available ones that examined PDP and APGA have concentrated mainly on the causes of its internal wrangling as well as divisions within the party but have not been able to critically examine the realities about intra-party politics within PDP and APGA particularly its gubernatorial primaries in Imo State between 1999 and 2019. Therefore, the study is expected to fill gap created in the literature on party politics in Nigeria. Therefore, if this work is successfully completed, it would serve as a reference material to the forth coming researchers in the field of academics to build upon so as to make political parties in Imo State in particular and Nigeria as a whole, more institutionalized and democratic in nature and character. Other political parties not only Imo state but the country at large will benefit from this work because it is hoped to be in a very wider circulation. It is also hoped to be of benefit to those aspiring for any position within the democratic ladder as the study will throw more light to the policy makers in formulating decisions so as to have a hitch free and non-destructive intra party democracy not only in the existing political parties of Imostate but the country at large.

1.6 Research Methodology

Doctrinal method and also empirical shall be mainly adopted in this research which will entail the consideration of statutes, textbooks of both foreign and local authors, journals, case laws conferences, materials form, collection of facts and data through questionnaires, internet and other relevant materials will be consulted.

1.7 Literature Review

Party politics are those activities of political parties in a democratic environment to seek for the control of political offices through stated norms of election (Olaniyi, 2001). Party politics exist when elective principles are present in a state and by implication under a democratic regime which recognizes the legitimate choice of the citizens to select or elect those to represent them in governmental offices. According to Okoye (1982), party politics, are activities of formal structure, institution or organization which compete through the electoral process to control the personnel and policies of the government, and with the objective of allocating the scarce resources in a state through an institutionalized means or procedure‟‟. Hence, the primary objective of party politics is directed toward a single goal of wrestling for governmental or political power. There is no generally accepted definition of the concept of Intra Party democracy (Internal Party democracy) although many scholars agreed on some basic principles of accountability, transparency, inclusivity, participation, and representation (Duverger, 1963). Internal Party democracy means that the party should be formed “bottom-up” and that the internal distribution of power should be marked by dispersion at different levels, bodies, and individuals rather than by the concentration in one organ (Giovanni, 1977). Building up from the study of Scarrow (2004), he argued that internal democracy is a term used to describe a wide range of means for including party members in internal party deliberation and decision making. Also, Mersel (2006) is of the view that Internal Party democracy is aimed at increasing more representative, transparent and effective political parties. It recognizes the specific tasks in the internal organization and functioning of parties and party systems; including; candidate and leadership selection; policy-making; membership relations; women and youth inclusion and party funding. Teorell (1999) examines two essential contributory elements of internal party democracy. The first involves organizing free, fair and regular elections to fill internal positions, as well as selecting candidates for representative bodies. The second involves equal and open involvement of all members and groups in such a way that interests are more representative. These two mechanisms are essential for creating a transparent, open and purposeful political party in which creating an open and deliberative political party people can participate in elections equally but may also engage in participation or be represented in other ways. Internal Party democracy according to Gosnell (1968), is that which provides necessary vertical linkages between different deliberating spheres and horizontal linkages between competing issues. It refers to the creation of a permissible climate within a political party which guarantees the participation of all party members in decision making as well as general administration of the party. Such climate fosters the active involvement of every party member and not a few powerful rich. Within the sphere of a conceptual framework, major concepts such as godfather, political party funding, political party, etc., were scholarly defined. For instance, Orji (2014) has defined Godfathers as the power of an individual over the machinery of a political party, its constitution, statutory laws, and the Nigerian Constitution. Therefore godfathers are a major plague of party politics in the country and are specifically, responsible for fractionalization, acrimony, and conflict (IDEA, 2006). To Ibeanu (2008), godfathers are the major financiers of the PDP and its electoral candidates and the use the party as an “astutely thought out investment outlet to be recovered through frivolous and bloated government contracts, appointments of Glories into chosen public offices and other prebendal returns by the beneficiaries.” Godfathers has led to the personalization of the party, siphoning of public resources, embezzlement, mismanagement, and outright theft. According to Chukwuemeka, Oji and Chukwurah (2013), the concept of Godfathers is a kind of politics whereby an influential person in a popular or ruling party will assist someone usually a lackey, i.e., godson to emerge as the governorship candidate of a party at all cost and either by hook crook, he, he will help him to emerge victorious in the state governorship election irrespective of whether he is a populace candidate or not. Intuitively, therefore, political Godfathers represents a self-seeking individual out there to use the government for his own purposes. The cost of this incidence is enormous to the state as what usually obtains is that when the incumbent godson is at pains to satisfy the whims and caprices of the godfather among other competing demands on the scarce resources of the government, the larger members of the society suffers.

1.8 Scope and Limitations of the Study

The study focuses on the intra-party politics within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) in Nigeria, with particular reference to 2019 governorship election in Imo State. Therefore, the research work took time before completion because it requires much time as the researcher needs to synthesize the relevant data obtained due to the fact that; not all the data are correct and relevant. Aside that, the researcher underwent a lot of difficulties in going round to either conduct interviews or collection of the distributed questionnaires due to some protocols before reaching some respondents. As the study involves oral interview, some of the relevant individuals contacted for an interview were usually unwilling to provide specific details on questions asked in an attempt not to expose what they saw as sensitive information. Other respondents did not accept the request that was why they were replaced with other important personalities within the party. This is done purposely in order not to affect the authenticity of the study. Similarly, the study also observed that most of the relevant documents relating to PDP and APGA gubernatorial primaries (especially list of delegates) were not found in planning and statistics department of the party‘s secretariat in Imo but only few were later obtained at the administrative unit of the party due to repeated visits. Closely related to the above, in some areas, the researcher realized that not all respondents understand English language to effectively respond to questionnaires, so he had to translate them into Igbo Language. He also employed and trained other research assistants from PDP and APGA card carrying members to help in the administration and retrieval of questionnaires. With this therefore, a lot of time was spent for the said task as a result of repeated visits to meet the respondents for designated interviews which formed an important segment of the primary data, this also led to the delay in the research work

. 1.9 Definition of Terms

Intra Party: being or occurring within the membership or scope of a usually political party intraparty feuding intraparty organization.

Inter Party: occurring between or involving two or more parties and especially political parties Governorship: the office or position of being governor of a town, region, or public institution.

Election: An election is a formal group decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual to hold public office. It is usually used in Democratic nations.

Democracy: Democracy is a form of government in which the people exercise the authority of government.

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