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Peoples Democratic Party in the Fourth Republic of Nigeria: Nature, Structure, and Ideology

Peoples Democratic Party in the Fourth Republic of Nigeria: Nature, Structure, and Ideology Their nature and functions make political parties central to democratic governance especially in the new democracies of Africa that face the challenge of building strong and enduring democratic institutions. It is accepted that the existing trend in most of these democracies of one big party dominating the political space weakens democracy and undermines its prospects for consolidation. Big parties—usually the ruling ones—exhibit tendencies such as absence of internal democracy that are antithetical to democratic governance. While observations such as these are incontestable, there is little understanding into the nature, character, ideology, and internal structure of big parties generally. In this article, I attempt to address this concern. Specifically, I examine the nature, structure, and ideology of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nigeria’s ruling party at the federal level with considerable strength at local level between 1999 and 2015. Relying on data obtained from multiple sources, I investigate the process of its formation, the nature of its ideology, internal organization, its electoral strength, and how absence of internal democracy contributed significantly to its defeat in 2015 general elections. Keywords party politics, opposition, Nigeria, fourth republic, democracy. Between May 1999 when Nigeria returned to democratic ideology or lack of it as a ruling party, its organizational rule for the third time in its political history and May 2015 structure at the national and local levels, and its electoral when it held its fifth general election in this dispensation, the strength as well as how it gained and lost its dominant status country was ruled by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). in the party politics of the Fourth Republic. The dominance of this party for 16 years in the electoral poli- This objective is important because understanding the rise tics of Nigeria was ensured by its electoral strength and geo- and fall of PDP in Nigeria, arguably Africa’s largest democ- graphical spread in the country. The 2015 general elections racy, will help us to draw lessons on the nature of party poli- were, therefore, a turning point on the electoral and political tics and internal dynamics of other big parties in other new fortunes of this party that once prided itself as “the largest democracies. Furthermore, this will help us to appreciate the party in Africa.” In these elections, PDP lost its status as the forces that shape the evolution of party systems in these new dominant party in the Fourth Republic. The 2015 general democracies and how they affect the quality of their democ- elections returned a new party, the All Progressive Congress racies (Burnell & Gerrits, 2010; Dix, 1992; Stokes, 1999). (APC), as the major one for the first time in the electoral his- Before proceeding, it is important to briefly mention the type tory of Nigeria. of data used for this purpose. In determining the nature and For a party that governed for 16 years and witnessed the character of PDP, there are two invaluable sources—what the transformation of Nigeria and the eruption of some of its party says about itself and what others say about it. Separately, greatest security challenges including militancy in the Delta, neither of the two sources is completely objective. But when Boko Haram terrorism in the North-East, and sectarian ten- combined, they counterbalanced each other and helped us to sions in the North-Central, there is little understanding of the achieve our goals. As for the ideology of PDP, there is no nature, ideology, structure, and organization, and how lack of internal democracy and cohesion cost PDP victory in 2015 Umaru Musa Yar’adua University, Katsina, Nigeria (Aleyomi, 2013; Awopeju, Adelusi, & Oluwashakin, 2012; Corresponding Author: Azeez, 2009; Kendhammer, 2010; Kura, 2011; Nwala, Aliyu Mukhtar Katsina, Department of Political Science, Umaru Musa 1999). My aim in this article is to examine the nature and Yar’adua University, Katsina, Nigeria. character of PDP as a party operating in a new democracy, its Email: aliyu.mukhtar@umyu.edu.ng Creative Commons CC-BY: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage). 2 SAGE Open better way of grasping its orientation except by examining its but also proving to be an attractive successor to the mass constitution and manifesto, specifically those sections and party model (Krouwel, 2003). In fact, there are scholars who provisions on mission, vision, aims, objectives, programs, regard the catch-all party as a form of upward progression and policies. Examining the constitution of PDP will also from the mass party model that lost its appeal following the enable us to construct its organizational structure, while we professionalization of politics in the latter half of the last can determine its electoral strength and geographical spread century (Katz & Mair, 1995; Koole, 1996). Due to this, the across the federation on the basis of its performance in the catch-all party emerged as the successor to the mass party five general elections held in Nigeria between 1999 and and took over its functions in a rebalancing act that makes it 2015. Media reports complement these sources with empiri- impossible for other party models to perform representative cal data especially on variables such as internal democracy, functions in democratic states (Mair, 2005; Webb, 2005). internal stability and cohesion, and relationship between Otto Kirchheimer is credited with introducing the concept various party units. of the catch-all party model into party literature (Forestiere, 2009). According to Kirchheimer, catch-all parties evolved from mass parties after they shifted their emphasis from ide- Parties in the New Democracies: A ological purity to votes and winning elections. Certainly, responding to political exigencies of their environments, Framework for Analysis these types of parties had no qualms transforming into “ratio- It is apt to start with a framework for analysis. Fundamentally, nally conceived vehicles of interest representation” in the there is some form of consensus among scholars that party political system (Kirchheimer, 1969, pp. 245-268). Not sur- politics is indispensable to democratic governance. This is prisingly, Andre Krouwel (2003) believes that catch-all par- because of the wide-ranging functions of parties that include ties have ideologies that are steeped in political expediency recruiting the political class, conducting election campaigns, because their primary goal in any electoral contest is to cap- educating the electorates, organizing the business of gover- ture power at all cost irrespective of ideological concessions nance, and aggregating public interests and viewpoints in and compromises required. democratic states (Driver, 2011). From this conception of Catch-all parties have the following elements that define parties and their roles, scholars further draw about four their nature and distinguish them from other party models. important points of convergence among parties as against The first is the receding significance of ideology which is other forms of political associations. evident in these parties. The second is the ascendance of First, parties bear labels that differentiate them from other leadership groups because of their contributions toward the sociopolitical institutions in the society. Second, parties are success of the parties rather than their attachment to their voluntarily formed associations in which common outlook or original goals. The third is the loss of relevance which indi- shared ideology supposedly attracts and binds members in vidual members suffered in managing the affairs of these the pursuit of predetermined goals. Third, parties are parties. The fourth is the inclination of these parties to place expressly committed to transforming their environments to less emphasis on social status and class when mobilizing reflect their values and ideologies through electoral politics support. The fifth is the gradual ascendance of special inter- and other legitimate means. Fourth, because parties operate ests groups, mostly with financial and or political clouts, in in liberal environments, they compete with each other for these parties especially in deciding their affairs (Kirchheimer, access to political power and resources in modern societies 1966). (Aldrich, 1995; Epstein, 1980; White, 2006). Additional insights into the character of catch-all parties Defining parties is not the only concern of scholars. They could be gleaned from other scholars. For instance, Michelle have interest in classifying them too. However, as parties are Williams (2009) is one of those scholars who notes that products of diverse sociological factors, classifying them catch-all parties are tends to be a bit problematic. Should focus be character and structure, or should it be on ideological, institutional, and identified by their size as larger mainstream parties, by their systematic convergence and divergence? These have largely pursuit of votes at the expense of ideology, by their centrist and remained contentious issues (Krouwel, 2006). For instance, often inconsistent party platforms designed to appeal to ever Maurice Duverger (1976) choose to focus on the nature of wider audiences, and their organizational style that is elite party organization—inclusive versus exclusive, general ver- driven. (p. 539) sus specific, ideologically broad versus narrow—as the most important feature to look for in classifying parties. Generally, Their genetic, electoral, ideological, and organizational this and other parameters of classification give us different dimensions not only differ from those of the other parties party models such as the elite, cadre, caucus, mass, catch-all, but, in fact, also form important criteria for differentiating cartel, and business-firm. them from other party models. There are strong indications which suggest that catch-all Electorally, catch-all parties target the middle and lower party is not only becoming the most dominant party model classes in the society as their core support bases. This is due Katsina 3 to the fact that traditionally these classes are outside the sup- Olusegun Obasanjo, convicted of plotting to overthrow port group of more exclusive parties such as cadre and cau- Abacha in 1995, was one of the released prisoners. Shortly cus parties (Mair, 2005; Webb, 2005). This makes catch-all afterward, Obasanjo joined PDP, contested, and won the parties to rely on external recruitment of supporters from all 1999 presidential election to become the first elected presi- sections of the society. Ideologically, these parties place dent of Nigeria in the Fourth Republic. more emphasis on management competence and the ability These measures helped in democratizing Nigeria success- to deliver public goods rather than philosophical argumenta- fully, especially when we consider some of the major chal- tions and doctrinaire contestations. Organizationally, catch- lenges it faced at the time. Feelings of sectional all parties marginalize their members. Ironically, in turn, marginalization were intense to the extent that some sections they are subordinated to their members occupying public were threatening to secede from the country. Then there were offices because of patronage reasons. In other words, these those who were skeptical of the military’s sincerity to keep parties depend on support from interest groups, patronage its promise of disengagement from power (Maier, 2000). from rich members, and subventions from the state to man- Freeing prisoners and inviting exiles home as well as design- age their activities (Krouwel, 2006). As this article shows in ing new legal and institutional frameworks and establishing subsequent sections, PDP fits the picture of a catch-all party. new structures, therefore, helped in facilitating reconciliation But before looking at this party, it is important to start with a and building confidence in the sincerity of the military to brief background to democracy and party politics in the democratize and disengage from power. With the benefit of Fourth Republic. hindsight, it is clear that these steps defined the subsequent trajectory of democracy in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic. They shaped the nature of its politics, its parties, its party system, Party Politics in the Fourth Republic: A its other institutions, and the long-term prospects of demo- Brief Background cratic consolidation in the country. The death of Nigeria’s military head of state in 1998, General In the pursuit of its mandate, INEC invited interested Sani Abacha, and the appointment of General Abdussalam political associations to submit their applications for regis- Abubakar as his successor changed the trajectory of democ- tration as political parties. About 26 associations submitted ratization program in the country dramatically. Before his their applications with only nine receiving provisional death, Abacha had unveiled a democratization program in approval to participate in the December 1998 council elec- 1994 but received little support from the civil society because tions. These were the Alliance for Democracy (AD), All it was perceived to have been designed to ensure his self- Peoples Party (APP), Democratic Advance Movement succession plan. This unenthusiastic reception affected the (DAM), Movement for Democracy and Justice (MDJ), credibility of the program and left the country with a transi- National Solidarity Movement (NSM), and PDP. The rest tion program defective in its popularity (Abubakar, 1998a). were the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), United Abacha’s death before the transition ran its course, therefore, Democratic Party (UDP), and United Progressive Party was a lifeline to democracy that saved Nigerians the pros- (UPP). To avoid cluttering the political space with redundant pects of an elected government with dubious legitimacy. parties, participation by any of these parties in the subse- In his first days in office, Abubakar took steps that restored quent rounds of election was made dependent on its winning the confidence of Nigerians on the possibility of having a at least 10% of the total votes in the council elections of 1998 sincere democratization experience under military supervi- in at least two thirds of the states in the federation. sion. The first step he took was to jettison Abacha’s political The outcome of the council election showed AD as having program. In its place, a new program was initiated with May won 100 local councils, APP won 182, and PDP won 389 out 1999 as the date for terminating military rule and inaugurat- of 774 local councils in the federation. The other six parties ing democratic government in Nigeria (Abubakar, 1998b). divided the remaining 103 councils with none of them getting To achieve this goal, he proscribed the institutions and struc- the stipulated percentage. Thus, with more than 70% of the tures established by Abacha to facilitate the transition local councils divided between AD, APP, and PDP, INEC including the National Electoral Commission of Nigeria granted them approval to participate in the state assembly, (NECON)—the agency responsible for overseeing elections gubernatorial, national assembly (NASS), and presidential in the country. NECON was replaced by the Independent elections of 7 January and 27 February 1999. Cumulatively, National Electoral Commission (INEC) with the mandate to the electoral performance of PDP in 1999 made it the domi- register new parties, supervise their activities, and conduct nant party in the country which controlled the federal govern- new rounds of elections. In addition, a Constitution Debate ment. This allowed the party to subsequently establish its Coordinating Committee (CDCC) was established to advise nationwide dominance over the other parties and to substan- the government on the choice of a new constitutional and tially define the structure of the party system up to 2015. political order for the country. Furthermore, Abubakar Investigations on party politics and party system in the (1998b) released political prisoners and invited political Fourth Republic showed that most of the parties are defec- exiles to return home. A former military head of state, tive in terms of cohesive sociopolitical ideologies for 4 SAGE Open attracting and securing membership loyalty. Other visible president at the end of his transition program in 1998 traits of most of the parties include their seasonal life cycles, (Osumah & Ikelegbe, 2009). policy inconsistencies, absence of institutional and financial This group later expanded its membership to 34 and autonomy, absence of genuine national outlook, and lack of became known as G34. The fundamental mission which this strong support base beyond the immediate neighborhoods of group set for itself was the total and unconditional demilitar- their leaders. Then, there are also issues of ceaseless defec- ization of Nigerian politics. It called for democratization and tions of party elites occasioned by absence of internal democ- even gave Abacha a deadline for the transfer of power to racy and accountability, and intraparty crises usually resulting civilians (Osumah & Ikelegbe, 2009). Before Abacha could into factions violently competing against each other within respond to the demands of the group, he died together with these parties (Animashaun, 2010; Lewis, 2003). PDP, like his perceived self-succession plan. Power changed hands the other parties, had its share of policy inconsistencies, and, under Abubakar, the political space was opened to inter- heavy dose of internal conflicts, absence of institutional and ested players. With this development, a number of political financial autonomy, and problems of subordination between associations mostly those denied registration by NECON party organization and members holding political offices. In under Abacha such as the All Nigeria Congress (ANC), fact, it would appear that, probably because of its position as Peoples Consultative Forum (PCF), Social Progressive Party the ruling party, these problems were more noticeable in PDP (SPP), Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), and Peoples than in the other parties combined (Katsina, 2013). National Party (PNP) joined G34 and formed a single It is, however, important to observe that some of these umbrella organization—the PDP with Solomon Lar as its pro problems are directly traceable to the incredibly short period— tem chairman. The party was registered with INEC on 28 less than a year—in which most of the institutions, structures, July 1998 (PDP, 2011a). Its performance in the local council and even the legal framework necessary for democratization elections of December 1998 made it the largest party with the were designed and incubated in the country. For instance, it widest geographical spread in the country. And unlike AD would be expecting too much from parties formed in less than and APP, its two contemporaries, PDP had a truly national a year not only to show maturity and discipline but also to composition and outlook even at that period. Indeed, it was exhibit cohesive ideologies and sufficient institutionalization. the only party that was not associated with any one ethnic or The absence of sound social policies guiding their pursuit of religious group in the country. power, the ideological emptiness underpinning their cam- Between 1999 and 2011, PDP had won every presidential paigns, the fickle nature of the loyalty of the party elites, and election in Nigeria, producing three presidents in the persons the unwieldy nature of the organizational structures through of Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’adua, and Goodluck which they ran their affairs are all manifestations of the conse- Jonathan. Due largely to a higher and quick turnover of quence of this short period. It could be argued that these par- national leadership, PDP is undoubtedly the most unstable ties have power literally thrown on their laps before they were and crises-ridden party with low-internal cohesion in the sufficiently prepared for it. These factors contributed substan- Fourth Republic. Between 1999 and 2015, the party was tially in the formation of a skewed party system in which a managed by no less than 11 national chairmen all of whom single party dominated the polity while the other parties sat on left office in controversial circumstances. Although Solomon the fringes and provided weak and ineffectual opposition for Lar served as its foundation chairman, its first substantive 16 years (Akubo & Yakubu, 2014; Animashaun, 2010; chairman was Barnabas Gemade who was elected at its post- Katsina, 2013; Lewis, 2003). 1999 general elections convention. Many observers believed that this convention was rigged by Obasanjo to achieve a predetermined objective. Audu Ogbeh was later elected to PDP: Formation and Nature replace Gemade. In 2005, Ahmadu Ali was appointed as the In fact, it is remarkable that since the 1999 general elections replacement to Ogbeh. The next national chairman was that brought it to power, PDP had managed to remain the Vincent Ogbulafor who was replaced by Okwesilieze Nwodo only party substantially intact from organizational point of in 2010. After Nwodo resigned in the same year, Halliru view until 2015. Its two contemporaries, AD and APP, had Mohammed and later Kawu Baraje were appointed as acting suffered a less glorious fate. AD had split into factions, a national chairmen. After the 2011 general elections, PDP situation which saw its decline and loss of relevance in elected Bamanga Tukur as its national chairman, who was Nigeria’s electoral space. APP, however, had merged with also replaced by Ahmed Adamu Mu’azu in controversial cir- other parties and changed its identity and character (Chidi, cumstances in 2014 (“PDP Chair,” 2015). 2015). The formation of PDP dated back to the historic step taken in 1997 by a group of 18 eminent but angry Nigerians PDP Ideology: Cohesion or Confusion known as the G18. The grouse of this group led by Alex Ekwueme—Nigeria’s former vice president in the Second Leadership problem was not the only challenge that PDP Republic—was Abacha’s militarization of the political space faced while it held power. It also suffered from absence of and his perceived plan to transform himself into a civilian coherent ideological principles that could have focused its Katsina 5 government and guided its members in public offices. There These were administration of justice, building a strong is a general understanding that ideology is central to the economy, reviving agriculture, boosting health services, strength, viability, and solidarity of a party. It also distin- strengthening national defense, and providing transportation guishes parties from each other in the political system services. Other goals were to ensure energy security, reliable (Vassallo & Wilcox, 2006; Volkens & Klingemann, 2002). communication system, internal security, provision of afford- We have already seen that most parties in the Fourth able water supply, building strong labor force, employment Republic suffered from absence of cohesive ideologies. A and wages, natural mineral industries, iron and steel, youth plausible explanation for this revolves around their nature as and sports, culture, women empowerment, human rights, catch-all parties that made it easier to adjust to convenience environmental obligations, civil service, strengthening of tra- rather than ideological coherence and consistency. Nothing ditional institutions, affordable housing, developing tourism, supports this than the vague and fuzzy interpretations of lib- land, and a robust foreign policy (PDP, 2011b). When we jux- eralism and free market principles that passed for its ideol- tapose these principles against the different policy thrusts and ogy. Evidently, this was meant to satisfy specific interests: agenda which Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’adua, perhaps its rich benefactors, or simply to burnish its liberal and Goodluck Jonathan pursued while occupying the presi- credentials. dency, it does not baffle therefore to note that all indices of The vision, mission, and objectives upon which PDP as a sociopolitical and economic development sharply declined. party was originally conceived were not different from the Poverty level rose, so was insecurity, sectarian tension, cor- way other parties viewed their objectives in other democra- ruption, and bad governance under PDP’s rule (“Bitter Truths cies such as Ghana and Senegal (Kura, 2009). The funda- About Economy the Jonathan Government,” 2014; “Nigeria mental objectives which PDP gave for itself in its founding Was Almost a Pariah State Under Jonathan,” 2016). constitution centered around democratization of Nigeria, The explanation for this poor situation is partly located in promoting national reconciliation, building true political and these type of principles which the party espoused under its fiscal federalism, and ensuring equitable distribution of rule. They were generic that gave no clear-cut direction for power, wealth, and opportunities to conform with the prin- governments produced by the party. They only exposed its ciples of power-shift and power-sharing. Its other objectives nature as a catch-all party quick to stretch its principles and were to promote the rotation of key political offices, and an policies to accommodate conflicting interests. This does not equitable devolution of powers to the zones, states, and local imply complete absence of ideology in these parties. Most of governments so as to create sociopolitical conditions condu- them gravitate toward neoliberal capitalist ideology. It is not cive to national peace and unity. The rest were to institution- difficult to see how this observation aptly fits PDP. When we alize the rule of law, social equality, and justice; build an compare its principles and objectives against the liberal tradi- egalitarian society; promote independence of the judiciary; tion, it is easy to see that these ideas have their larger narrative and eradicate illiteracy from Nigeria (PDP, 1998, preamble). within this discourse, albeit in its distorted form. Interestingly, Akin to Marxists’ mantra, PDP is equally interested in build- this process of “stretching” for political expediency continued ing a country “in which all Nigerians are equal, where each in the organizational structure of the party where, obviously, contributes according to his ability, where no one person the concern was to placate party elites and patrons through dominates and where no political party belongs to one indi- accommodating them in various party organs. vidual” (PDP, 1998, Art. 6). Many of these principles and objectives were modified or altogether expunged in later PDP: Internal Structure and amendments, perhaps as a reflection of new realities, or as is Organization the case with catch-all parties to accommodate certain con- stituencies and expediencies (PDP, 2009). Between 1999 when it was formed and 2015 when it suffered Turning to its manifesto for a little help on where PDP its first major electoral defeat, PDP operated on six structural stood, ideologically speaking, we confront even more nebu- levels, namely, ward, local government, senatorial district, lous principles and goals. In its manifesto, PDP outlined state, zonal, and national levels. With only two organs, exec- what appear to be the usual political commitments calculated utive committee and congress, the ward level was the lowest to please average voters in the new democracies. These in its hierarchy. Composition of the ward executive commit- include commitment to a dynamic national economy, a free tee was, however, broad enough to accommodate 17 elected and democratic society built on the foundations of social jus- members and other members holding political offices at the tice, and people-centered approach to governance. PDP also local, state, and national levels. This organ managed the vowed to wage war against poverty, promote integrated rural affairs of the party at the ward level, raised funds, and imple- development, industrialization, advancement in education, mented decisions made by ward congress and other party science and technology, and provision of basic infrastruc- organs of higher jurisdiction. Expectedly, the congress was ture. These are not the only areas which PDP considered designed to accommodate and give all registered members worthwhile, but there are at least 25 other goals which the an avenue for interaction and of exercising their powers of party set for itself. oversight at ward level (PDP, 2009, Art. 12, Sections 2-21). 6 SAGE Open Relations, however, between the party leadership and mem- made up of the state chairman, president and his deputy, gov- bers, which the congress epitomized, were not always cordial ernor and his deputy, gubernatorial candidates, political and viable. There have been numerous instances where elec- appointees serving at the national level, members of the tion of party leadership, delegates, and other functions of the Board of Trustees (BoT), state executive committee, national congress were usurped by state governments in tandem with and zonal executive committee members from the state, the national leadership of the party. This contributed in erod- national and state assembly members, and 10 commission- ing the goodwill and support which it enjoyed at the grass- ers. Other members were 10 special advisers to the governor, roots in its early days. council chairmen and their deputies, local government party Above the ward, there was the local government level secretaries, treasurers, women and youth leaders, three ward also with two organs. These were the local government exec- delegates, former members of the state working committee, utive committee and the local government congress. These former governors and their deputies, and former speakers of organs performed functions similar to those of the ward the state house of assembly and their deputies (PDP, 2009, level. Composition of these organs, however, differed from Art. 12, Sections 28-49). those of the ward. The membership of the local executive The zonal level had three organs. These were the zonal committee comprised 18 elected members including the working committee, zonal executive committee, and zonal ward executive committee chairmen and other members congress. This committee, with 10 members drawn from the holding political offices. Local government congress com- zonal executive committee, administered the party at the prised of elected delegates from the wards, the ward execu- zonal level and liaised with the national secretariat of the tive committee members, local government executive party. The zonal executive committee, however, was made committee members, and political office holders elected and up of the zonal chairman and nine other elected officials, appointed in the local, state, or federal government. president and vice president from the zone, NASS members, The next two levels above the local government were the state governors and their deputies, national executive com- senatorial district and state. The senatorial district had two mittee, and BoT members from the zone. Other members organs. The first was the senatorial district working commit- were the speaker, deputy speaker, party leader and party tee comprising of elected public officials at the state and whip in the state house of assembly, state chairmen, secretar- national levels, political appointees at the state and national ies and treasurers, and one ex-officio from each state in the levels, local government executive committee chairmen and zone. This organ performed similar functions to those of the secretaries, council chairmen and their deputies, members of state, local government, and ward levels. The last organ at the state executive committee from the district, elected coun- the zonal level was the zonal congress which also had func- cilors from the district, and five elected ex-officio members. tions similar to those being performed by sister organs at the The second was the senatorial caucus that linked the state state and other lower levels. It consisted of the zonal working executive committee and the local government executive committee, zonal executive committee, states’ executive committees in the senatorial districts (PDP, 2009, Art. 12, committee, former and serving zonal working committee Sections 22-27). members, and all national convention delegates from the At the state level, the party had four organs. These were zone (PDP, 2009, Art. 12, Sections 50-60). the state working committee, state caucus, state executive PDP had five organs at the national level, namely, national committee, and state congress. The composition of the state working committee, national caucus, BoT, national execu- working committee included the chairman of the state execu- tive committee, and national convention. The national work- tive committee, chairmen of the senatorial district working ing committee with the responsibility of routine administration committees, and 10 other members drawn from the state of the party had 12 members including the national chairman executive committee. This organ coordinated and adminis- and the secretary of the party. The national caucus was tered the daily affairs of the party at the state level. The state responsible for maintaining cordial relationship between the caucus also comprised the state executive committee chair- executive and legislative arms of government as well as man and his deputy, state secretary, treasurer, youth leader, streamlining party policies at the national level. It consisted party officials, and elected or appointed public officials serv- of the national chairman, president and vice president, three ing at the state, zonal, or national levels. In the state execu- ministers nominated by the president including the attorney tive committee, there were the state chairman, elected general and secretary to the government of the federation, officials of the party from the state serving at the zonal and special advisers to the president on political and NASS mat- national levels, 23 other elected officials of the party, and ters, senate president and his deputy, senate leader and his council chairmen. This committee, through the state working deputy, senate whip and his deputy, speaker and his deputy, committee, administered the party at the state level. house leader and his deputy, and the house whip and his dep- The state congress was the highest organ at the state level uty in the House of Representatives. Other members were with power to elect state executive committee members and the chairman and secretary of BoT and one member from gubernatorial candidates. This committee also approved each of the six geopolitical zones, deputy chairman, secre- party budget. The composition of the state congress was tary, legal adviser, treasurer, women leader, national youth Katsina 7 Representatives, and founding members of the party. Additional members included two women and three other members selected from each of the six geopolitical zones. BoT is responsible for ensuring highest ethical standards for the party, advising the party on appropriate policies, and sourcing funds for the party (PDP, 2009, Art. 12, Sections 76-83). PDP’s structure and its linkages with various organs at the local and national levels are presented in Figure 1. The national convention of PDP was its highest decision- making organ. It designed and ratified the party constitution, approved budget, elected national officers, and nominated presidential candidates. Its composition included members of the national executive committee, the president, vice pres- ident, ministers, ambassadors, special advisers and special assistants to the president and vice president, members of the NASS, governors and their deputies, and all gubernatorial candidates under the party. Other members were 10 state commissioners and special advisers, members of the house of assembly, BoT members, zonal working committee mem- bers, state executive committee chairmen and secretaries, local government executive committee chairmen, one elected national delegate from the local government congress, coun- cil chairmen, members of PDP serving as chairmen of fed- eral boards, former members of the national working committee, former deputy senate presidents, and deputy speakers of the house of representatives (PDP, 2009, Art. 12, Sections 84-93). Figure 1. Organizational structure of PDP. Looking at the elaborateness of this structure, there is the Source. Constructed from PDP (2009). tendency to believe that it succeeded in accommodating con- Note. PDP = Peoples Democratic Party; BoT = Board of Trustees; NWC = National Working Committee; ZWC = Zonal Working flicting interests within its fold and strengthened its support Committee; SWC = State Working Committee. base. However, because the party from inception depended heavily on the support and patronage of rich benefactors, control of the party structure gradually passed into their leader, and national security adviser to the president (PDP, hands. This greatly affected internal democracy, promoted 2009, Art. 12, Sections 61-70). the ascendance of rich interest groups, and the dominance of PDP’s constitution vested the power to organize the par- elected and appointed party members with fat purse. From ty’s national convention with the national executive commit- 2006, PDP began to witness mass defection from its ranks to tee. Other functions of this organ were to implement decisions other parties. So severe was this defection movement that of the national convention and to supervise other party organs prominent members including Atiku Abubakar, then at all levels. It comprised 25 elected officials and four ex- Nigeria’s vice president, several state governors, former cab- officio members. Other members were the president and his inet members, and countless federal legislators dumped the deputy, BoT, senate president and his deputy, senate leader party (“VP Wins Opposition Ticket,” 2006). To properly and his deputy, senate whip and his deputy, two senators appreciate how this situation affected the party electorally from each of the six geopolitical zones, speaker, deputy and led to its eventual defeat in 2015 general elections, let us speaker, house leader and his deputy, house whip and his look at the electoral strength of PDP beginning from 1999. deputy in the house of representatives, and three members of House of Representatives from each of the six geopolitical zones. The rest were state governors, state party chairmen, PDP: Size and Electoral Strength and all former deputy national chairmen, chairmen, and sec- Between 1999 and 2015, Nigeria had witnessed five general retaries of BoT (PDP, 2009, Art. 12, Sections 71-75). The elections, each with four rounds of contests for presidential, other two national organs of the party were BoT and the gubernatorial, national, and state assemblies. For PDP, the national convention. Membership of BoT was confined to 1999 general elections were its defining moment. The out- members who have attained 50 years of age and had served come of these elections established its strength and conferred or were serving in an elective capacity such as the president, on it the status of the dominant party in Nigeria. Subsequent vice president, national chairman, deputy national chairman, elections entrenched this dominance until March 2015. Table 1 national secretary, senate president, speaker of the House of 8 SAGE Open Table 1. Presidential Elections Results, 1999-2011. 1999 2003 2007 2011 2014 S. No. Party Votes % Votes % Votes % Votes % Votes % 1. AD/APP 11,110,287 37 — — — — — — — — 2. ANPP — — 12,710,022 32 6,605,299 18 — — — — 3. APC — — — — — — — — 12,853,162 44 4. CPC — — — — — — 12,214,853 31 — — 5. PDP 18,738,154 62 24,456,140 61 24,638,063 69 22,495,187 58 15,424,683 53 Source. African Elections Database (n.d.). Note. AD = Alliance for Democracy; APP = All Peoples Party; ANPP = All Nigeria Peoples Party; APC = All Progressive Congress; CPC = Congress for Progressive Change; PDP = Peoples Democratic Party. Figure 2. Presidential elections results, 1999-2015. Source. Constructed from Table 1. shows the results of the five presidential elections held By 2015, this dominance in NASS was altogether lost to between 1999 and 2015 and the performance of PDP against APC. And for the first time in 16 years, PDP had become the its closest rival in those elections. The first presidential elec- minority party in the country. Evidently, presidential and tion held on the 27 of February 1999, the second was on the NASS elections must have a bearing on gubernatorial elec- 19 of April 2003, the third was on the 27 of April 2007, the tions in Nigeria. For the same pattern which we observed in fourth was on the 16 of April 2011, while the fifth was on 21 those elections appears visible in the gubernatorial election March 2015. During the 1999 presidential election, PDP too. Table 3 shows that the sway of PDP over state govern- sponsored Olusegun Obasanjo against Olu Falae of AD/APP ments reached its peak in 2007, after which it began to alliance. In this election, 62% of the votes gave PDP the decline until 2015 when it was only left with about one third presidency and made it the ruling party at the federal level of the total number of states in the federation. (Figure 2). There are a number of reasons that explain this rise and The performance of the party in the gubernatorial and fall of PDP in the span of 16 years in Nigeria. Chief among NASS elections from 1999 to 2015 appears to have followed these reasons was the absence of internal democracy espe- similar trend with the presidential elections. Table 2 provides cially in the process of nominating flagbearers. Several a summary of the NASS elections in this period. The NASS members had complained about this bitterly, and there had is the highest lawmaking organ in Nigeria. Structurally, it is been instances where judiciary had to intervene to redress a bicameral house with the senate containing 109 members injustice related to primary elections in PDP (Kura, 2011; equally divided among the 36 states in the federation and one “PDP Primaries and Jonathan’s Candidacy,” 2011). There senator from the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and the was also its evident disdain for rule of law in how it dealt House of Representatives with 360. Members of the House with internal dissension. Elements considered subversive to of Representative are divided in proportion to the population the president and state governors were often edged out of size of each state. party affairs. The incidence of membership renewal in 2006 The general picture from Table 2 suggests that PDP’s for- where Atiku Abubakar was conveniently denied re-registra- tunes rose steadily until 2011 when they began to plummet. tion opportunity by his ward executive was instructive here Katsina 9 Table 2. NASS Elections Results, 1999-2015. 1999 2003 2007 2011 2015 S. No. Party Senate HoR Senate HoR Senate HoR Senate HoR Senate HoR 1. ACN — — — — 6 32 18 66 — — 2. AD 19 68 6 34 — — — — — — 3. ANPP 23 80 27 96 16 62 7 25 — — 4. APC — — — — — — — — 60 225 5. CPC — — — — — — 7 35 — — 6. PDP 67 212 76 223 85 262 72 201 49 125 Source. African Elections Database (n.d.). Note. NASS = national assembly; HoR = House of Representatives; ACN = Action Congress of Nigeria; AD = Alliance for Democracy; ANPP = All Nigeria Peoples Party; APC = All Progressive Congress; CPC = Congress for Progressive Change; PDP = Peoples Democratic Party. Table 3. Formation of State Governments by Parties, 1999-2015. No. of states No. of states No. of states No. of states No. of states S. No. Party (1999) (2003) (2007) (2011) (2015) 1. ACN — — 1 6 — 2. AD 6 1 — — — 3. ANPP 9 7 5 3 — 4. APC — — — — 23 5. APGA — 1 — 2 — 6. CPC — — — 1 — 7. LP — — — 1 — 8. PDP 21 27 28 23 13 9. PPA — — 2 — — Source. Nigeria Elections Coalitions, “Gubernatorial Elections”; http://nigeriaelections.org/gubernatorial.php. Note. ACN = Action Congress of Nigeria; AD = Alliance for Democracy; ANPP = All Nigeria Peoples Party; APC = All Progressive Congress; APGA = All Progressives Grand Alliance; CPC = Congress for Progressive Change; PDP = Peoples Democratic Party; PPA = Progressive Peoples Alliance. (Diamond, 2008). Equally contributing to its defeat was the tore his membership card continued unabated after its defeat. process of undermining the mutual trust that guided the party Already, several prominent members had either resigned such in its early days which was embraced and completed by as Bamanga Tukur and Tony Anenih, or defected such as Goodluck Jonathan when, in 2011, he rejected the principle James Nwobodo. And with several of its top members facing of power rotation as enshrined in the party’s constitution various charges of corruption, it is not likely to see the party (Ojougboh, 2015). For voters, the causes for its defeat were mobilizing needed resources to rejuvenate itself any time soon more immediate and had direct bearing to its inability to (“Sheriff’s Chairmanship: PDP Faces Mass Defection,” 2016). combat corruption, entrench good governance, fight insecu- At present, the party is polarized into camps with each rity, and stabilize the economy (Akinloye, 2016). staking claim to legitimacy. The crises that this polarization created had already consumed its acting national chairman, Uche Secondus. But his replacement, Ali Modu Sheriff, is PDP: Wearing the Toga of Opposition not a person that engenders confidence in the minds of Nigeria practices presidential democracy, a situation that Nigerians. Besides charges of corruption and abuse of office spares PDP leaders the ordeal of having to form a shadow gov- hanging on his neck, there is the perception among many ernment. However, as the party and its leaders adjust to the Nigerians, even if unsubstantiated, that Sheriff was the new role which the events of March 2015 forced on them, stu- founder and sponsor of Boko Haram while he was the gover- dents of Nigerian politics will ask these questions: Is PDP nor of Borno state between 2003 and 2011 (Akinloye, 2016; capable of providing an effective opposition to APC, and is the “Sheriff Still Under N300bn Borno Allocation Probe,” 2016; party capable of repositioning itself and bouncing back into “Sheriff’s Chairmanship: PDP Faces Mass Defection,” power in 2019? To understand the first question, we need to 2016). Whether these allegations are true or false is immate- look at how PDP has been handling post-2015 general election rial. What is important is that almost a year after its defeat shock. The defection of its prominent members started at the PDP could not find a more credible person to lead it to repo- eve of 2015 general elections with Obasanjo who dramatically sition it and revive its fortunes. 10 SAGE Open As for the second question, it is impossible to rule PDP should not be taken for granted by parties. Rather, party lead- out of political reckoning in Nigeria ever again. There have ers need to continue to work for these through respecting been instances, even if rare and uncommon, among African principles of rule of law, internal democracy, and adoption of democracies where parties that lost power at the center coherent policy blueprints for the development of their bounced back. In countries like Benin, Ghana, and Senegal, societies. incumbent presidents and their parties had at different times lost elections and accepted defeat only to strategize and win Declaration of Conflicting Interests back power later (Kura, 2009). Much of this, however, The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect depend on the interplay of several variables including how to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. the defeated party reposition itself, and the party in power acquitted itself. For PDP, therefore, the challenge depends Funding on how it resolves its internal contradictions, entrenches The author(s) received no financial support for the research and/or internal democracy, sheds the gradual appearance of sec- authorship of this article. tional character it has been taking since 2015, and becomes once again attractive to the voters in the next 3 years. Much References will also depend on the popularity of APC in the years Abubakar, A. (1998a, June 9). Maiden broadcast to the Nation after ahead, and whether it will succeed where PDP failed such as his inauguration as the Head of State and Commander in Chief internal democracy, engagement with members at the grass- of Nigerian Armed Forces. Abuja, Nigeria: Federal Ministry roots, ensuring good governance, and fighting corruption of Information. effectively. Abubakar, A. (1998b, October 1). 38th Nigeria’s independence anniversary speech. Abuja, Nigeria: Federal Ministry of Information. Conclusion African Elections Database. (n.d.). Elections in Nigeria. Retrieved from http://africanelections.tripod.com/ng.html Party politics in the Fourth Republic started when the gov- Akinloye, L. (2016, February 23). Nigeria’s once mighty PDP ernment of Abubakar adopted a new democratization pro- is fighting for its future. African Arguments. Retrieved from gram for Nigeria. This program introduced a new constitution http://africanarguments.org/2016/02/23/nigerias-once-mighty- as the legal framework for the new republic, and led to the pdp-is-fighting-for-its-future/#comment-81165 formation of new parties as critical institutions for electoral Akubo, A. A., & Yakubu, A. U. (2014). Political parties and politics. Sixteen years later, a number of remarkable devel- democratic consolidation in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic. opments had occurred that altered the trajectory of party Global Journal of Political Science and Administration, 2, politics in the country. This article had investigated, in a 79-108. manner of speaking, the rise and fall of PDP, once the largest Aldrich, J. H. (1995). Why parties? The origin and transformation party in Nigeria. In the article, I have shown the process that of party politics in America. Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press. led to its formation, the ideals upon which it was originally Aleyomi, M. B. (2013). Intra-party conflicts in Nigeria: The built, and its ideological character. Over the years, this ideo- case study of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Journal of logical character, which in any case was quite flexible, had Sustainable Development in Africa, 15, 281-296. experienced a greater level of fluidity. This, I contend, was Animashaun, K. (2010). Regime character: Electoral crisis and due to the catch-all nature of PDP. In terms of organizational prospects of electoral reform in Nigeria. Journal of Nigeria structure, I have shown that PDP was governed through six Studies, 1(1), 15-16. levels each of which had specific organs that coordinated and Awopeju, A., Adelusi, O., & Oluwashakin, A. (2012). Zoning for- managed its affairs. mula and the party politics in Nigerian democracy: A cross- Whereas this might appear as a concern for political inclu- roads for PDP in 2015 Presidential Elections. Research on sion in managing party affairs, we should not forget to men- Humanities and Social Sciences, 2(4), 11-19. tion that there may actually be an alternative explanation for Azeez, A. (2009). Ethnicity, party politics and democracy in Nigeria: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as agent of consoli- this broad-based structure. Like many other parties in the dation? Studies of Tribes and Tribals, 7(1), 1-9. new democracies, PDP was essentially built on patronage. Bitter truths about economy the Jonathan government does not want Thus, for it to continue to survive and succeed, it needed to Nigerians to know. (2014, December 22). Premium Times. find outlets through which generous patrons and their aco- Retrieved from www.premiumtimesng.com/news/173629- lytes could be rewarded. Thus, this structure was designed premium-times-special-bitter-truths-about-economy-the-jona- with this in view. The challenge for the party, therefore, is to than-govt-does-not-want-nigerians-to-know.html look beyond this source of patronage and consider re-estab- Burnell, P., & Gerrits, A. (2010). Promoting party politics in emerg- lishing relationship with the grass-roots if it desires to remain ing democracies. Democratization, 17, 1065-1084. relevant in Nigeria’s electoral politics. In this investigation, I Chidi, N. J. (2015). Politics of merger of political parties in Nigeria: have tried to show that there are lessons for parties and their The past and present efforts to evolve two major parties. leaders. Electoral success and continued political relevance Journal of Policy and Development Studies, 9(2), 52-72. Katsina 11 Diamond, L. (2008). The spirit of democracy: The struggle to build Ojougboh, C. (2015, July 12). Jonathan lost because he breached free societies throughout the world. New York, NY: Holt zoning agreement—PDP. The Herald. Retrieved from http:// Paperbacks. www.theheraldng.com/jonathan-lost-because-he-breached- Dix, R. H. (1992). Democratization and the institutionalization zoningagreement-pdp/ of Latin American political parties. Comparative Political Osumah, O., & Ikelegbe, A. (2009). The peoples democratic party Studies, 24, 488-511. and governance in Nigeria, 1999-2007. Journal of Social Driver, S. (2011). Understanding British party politics. Cambridge, Science, 19(3), 185-199. UK: Polity Press. PDP Chair, Adamu Mu’azu, resigning. (2015, May 20). Premium Duverger, M. (1976). Political parties: Their organization and Times. Retrieved from www.premiumtimesng.com/news/ activity in the modern state. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge headlines/183340-breaking-pdp-chair-adamu-muazu-resign- University Press. ing.html Epstein, L. D. (1980). Political parties in Western democracies. PDP primaries and Jonathan’s candidacy: Judge rejects anti-Jonathan New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books. lawsuit. (2011, January 10). Sahara Reporters. Retrieved from Forestiere, C. (2009). Kirchheimer Italian style: Catch-all parties or http://www.saharareporters.com/2011/01/10/pdp-primaries- catch-all blocs. Party Politics, 15, 537-591. and-jonathans-candidacy-judge-rejects-anti-jonathan-lawsuit Katsina, A. M. (2013). A contextual analysis of party system forma- Peoples Democratic Party. (1998). Constitution of the Peoples tion in Nigeria, 1960-2011. Intellectual Discourse, 21, 221-240. Democratic Party. Abuja, Nigeria: Author. Katz, R. S., & Mair, P. (1995). Changing models of party organiza- Peoples Democratic Party. (2009). Constitution of the Peoples tion and party democracy: The emergence of cartel party. Party Democratic Party (amended). Abuja, Nigeria: Author. Politics, 1, 5-28. Peoples Democratic Party. (2011a). In the beginning. Retrieved Kendhammer, B. (2010). Talking ethnic but hearing multi-ethnic: from Peoplesdemocraticparty.com.ng/?page_id=496 The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Nigeria and durable Peoples Democratic Party. (2011b). Manifesto of Peoples multi-ethnic parties in the midst of violence. Commonwealth & Democratic Party. Retrieved from Peoplesdemocraticparty. Comparative Politics, 48, 48-71. com.ng/?page_id=72 Kirchheimer, O. (1966). The transformation of Western European Sheriff still under N300bn Borno allocation probe—EFCC. (2016, party systems. In J. LaPalombara & M. Weiner (Eds.), Political February 23). Punch. Retrieved from www.punchng.com/sher- parties and political development (pp. 177 200). Princeton, NJ: iff-still-under-n300bn-borno-allocation-probe-efcc/ Princeton University Press. Sheriff’s chairmanship: PDP faces mass defection. (2016, February Kirchheimer, O. (1969). Party structure and mass democracy in 21). Punch. Retrieved from www.punchng.com/sheriffs-chair- Europe. Reprinted in F. S. Burin & K. L. Shell (Eds.), Politics, manship-pdp-faces-mass-defection/ law and social change: Selected essays of Otto Kirchheimer Stokes, S. C. (1999). Political parties and democracy. Annual (pp. 245-268). New York, NY: Columbia University Press. Review of Political Science, 2, 243-267. Koole, R. (1996). Cadre, catch-all or cartel? A comment on the Vassallo, F., & Wilcox, C. (2006). Party as a carrier of ideas. In notion of cartel party. Party Politics, 2, 507-508. R. S. Katz & W. Crotty (Eds.), Handbook of party politics Krouwel, A. (2003). Otto Kirchheimer and the Catch-all Party. (pp. 413-421). London, England: SAGE. West European Politics, 26(2), 23-40. Volkens, A., & Klingemann, H. D. (2002). Parties, ideologies, and Krouwel, A. (2006). Party models. In R. S. Katz & W. Crotty issues. In K. R. Luther & F. M. Rommel (Eds.), Political par- (Eds.), Handbook of party politics (pp. 249-269). London, ties in the new Europe (pp. 143-168). New York, NY: Oxford England: SAGE. University Press. Kura, S. B. (2009). African ruling political parties and the making VP wins opposition ticket, crisis looms. (2006, December 21). Reuters. of authoritarian democracies: Extending the frontiers of social Retrieved from old.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20061221/int/ justice in Nigeria. African Journal on Conflict Resolution, 8, int3.html 63-101. Webb, P. (2005). Political parties and democracy: The ambiguous crisis. Democratization, 12, 633-650. Kura, S. B. (2011). Political parties and democracy in Nigeria: White, J. K. (2006). What is a political party? In R. S. Katz & W. Candidates selection an party financing in People’s Crotty (Eds.), Handbook of party politics (pp. 5-15). London, Democratic Party. Journal of Sustainable Development in England: SAGE. Africa, 13, 268-298. Williams, M. H. (2009). Catch-all in the twenty-first century? Lewis, P. (2003). Nigeria: Election in a fragile regime. Journal of Revisiting Kirchheimer thesis 40 years later: An introduction. Democracy, 14(3), 131-144. Party Politics, 15, 539-541. Maier, K. (2000). This house has fallen: Nigeria in crisis. London, England: Penguin Books. Author Biography Mair, P. (2005, April). Democracy beyond parties. Paper Presented to the European Consortium of Political Research Workshop Aliyu Mukhtar Katsina, holds a Phd in political science, and spe- on Political Parties and Democracy, Grenada. cializes in party politics and democratic governance in Nigeria. Nigeria was almost a pariah state under Jonathan—FG. (2016, Presently, he works with Umaru Musa Yar’adua University February 18). Punch. Retrieved from www.punchng.com/ (UMYU), Nigeria, where he heads its Department of Political Nigeria-was-almost-a-pariah-state-under-jonathan-fg/ Science. His latest book, Party Constitutions and Political Nwala, T. U. (1999). Peoples Democratic Party (PDP): History Challenges in a Democracy: Nigeria in the Fourth Republic, was and challenges. Abuja, Nigeria: PDP National Headquarters. published by IIUM Press, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png SAGE Open SAGE

Peoples Democratic Party in the Fourth Republic of Nigeria: Nature, Structure, and Ideology

SAGE Open , Volume 6 (2): 1 – Jun 12, 2016

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Abstract

Their nature and functions make political parties central to democratic governance especially in the new democracies of Africa that face the challenge of building strong and enduring democratic institutions. It is accepted that the existing trend in most of these democracies of one big party dominating the political space weakens democracy and undermines its prospects for consolidation. Big parties—usually the ruling ones—exhibit tendencies such as absence of internal democracy that are antithetical to democratic governance. While observations such as these are incontestable, there is little understanding into the nature, character, ideology, and internal structure of big parties generally. In this article, I attempt to address this concern. Specifically, I examine the nature, structure, and ideology of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nigeria’s ruling party at the federal level with considerable strength at local level between 1999 and 2015. Relying on data obtained from multiple sources, I investigate the process of its formation, the nature of its ideology, internal organization, its electoral strength, and how absence of internal democracy contributed significantly to its defeat in 2015 general elections. Keywords party politics, opposition, Nigeria, fourth republic, democracy. Between May 1999 when Nigeria returned to democratic ideology or lack of it as a ruling party, its organizational rule for the third time in its political history and May 2015 structure at the national and local levels, and its electoral when it held its fifth general election in this dispensation, the strength as well as how it gained and lost its dominant status country was ruled by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). in the party politics of the Fourth Republic. The dominance of this party for 16 years in the electoral poli- This objective is important because understanding the rise tics of Nigeria was ensured by its electoral strength and geo- and fall of PDP in Nigeria, arguably Africa’s largest democ- graphical spread in the country. The 2015 general elections racy, will help us to draw lessons on the nature of party poli- were, therefore, a turning point on the electoral and political tics and internal dynamics of other big parties in other new fortunes of this party that once prided itself as “the largest democracies. Furthermore, this will help us to appreciate the party in Africa.” In these elections, PDP lost its status as the forces that shape the evolution of party systems in these new dominant party in the Fourth Republic. The 2015 general democracies and how they affect the quality of their democ- elections returned a new party, the All Progressive Congress racies (Burnell & Gerrits, 2010; Dix, 1992; Stokes, 1999). (APC), as the major one for the first time in the electoral his- Before proceeding, it is important to briefly mention the type tory of Nigeria. of data used for this purpose. In determining the nature and For a party that governed for 16 years and witnessed the character of PDP, there are two invaluable sources—what the transformation of Nigeria and the eruption of some of its party says about itself and what others say about it. Separately, greatest security challenges including militancy in the Delta, neither of the two sources is completely objective. But when Boko Haram terrorism in the North-East, and sectarian ten- combined, they counterbalanced each other and helped us to sions in the North-Central, there is little understanding of the achieve our goals. As for the ideology of PDP, there is no nature, ideology, structure, and organization, and how lack of internal democracy and cohesion cost PDP victory in 2015 Umaru Musa Yar’adua University, Katsina, Nigeria (Aleyomi, 2013; Awopeju, Adelusi, & Oluwashakin, 2012; Corresponding Author: Azeez, 2009; Kendhammer, 2010; Kura, 2011; Nwala, Aliyu Mukhtar Katsina, Department of Political Science, Umaru Musa 1999). My aim in this article is to examine the nature and Yar’adua University, Katsina, Nigeria. character of PDP as a party operating in a new democracy, its Email: aliyu.mukhtar@umyu.edu.ng Creative Commons CC-BY: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage). 2 SAGE Open better way of grasping its orientation except by examining its but also proving to be an attractive successor to the mass constitution and manifesto, specifically those sections and party model (Krouwel, 2003). In fact, there are scholars who provisions on mission, vision, aims, objectives, programs, regard the catch-all party as a form of upward progression and policies. Examining the constitution of PDP will also from the mass party model that lost its appeal following the enable us to construct its organizational structure, while we professionalization of politics in the latter half of the last can determine its electoral strength and geographical spread century (Katz & Mair, 1995; Koole, 1996). Due to this, the across the federation on the basis of its performance in the catch-all party emerged as the successor to the mass party five general elections held in Nigeria between 1999 and and took over its functions in a rebalancing act that makes it 2015. Media reports complement these sources with empiri- impossible for other party models to perform representative cal data especially on variables such as internal democracy, functions in democratic states (Mair, 2005; Webb, 2005). internal stability and cohesion, and relationship between Otto Kirchheimer is credited with introducing the concept various party units. of the catch-all party model into party literature (Forestiere, 2009). According to Kirchheimer, catch-all parties evolved from mass parties after they shifted their emphasis from ide- Parties in the New Democracies: A ological purity to votes and winning elections. Certainly, responding to political exigencies of their environments, Framework for Analysis these types of parties had no qualms transforming into “ratio- It is apt to start with a framework for analysis. Fundamentally, nally conceived vehicles of interest representation” in the there is some form of consensus among scholars that party political system (Kirchheimer, 1969, pp. 245-268). Not sur- politics is indispensable to democratic governance. This is prisingly, Andre Krouwel (2003) believes that catch-all par- because of the wide-ranging functions of parties that include ties have ideologies that are steeped in political expediency recruiting the political class, conducting election campaigns, because their primary goal in any electoral contest is to cap- educating the electorates, organizing the business of gover- ture power at all cost irrespective of ideological concessions nance, and aggregating public interests and viewpoints in and compromises required. democratic states (Driver, 2011). From this conception of Catch-all parties have the following elements that define parties and their roles, scholars further draw about four their nature and distinguish them from other party models. important points of convergence among parties as against The first is the receding significance of ideology which is other forms of political associations. evident in these parties. The second is the ascendance of First, parties bear labels that differentiate them from other leadership groups because of their contributions toward the sociopolitical institutions in the society. Second, parties are success of the parties rather than their attachment to their voluntarily formed associations in which common outlook or original goals. The third is the loss of relevance which indi- shared ideology supposedly attracts and binds members in vidual members suffered in managing the affairs of these the pursuit of predetermined goals. Third, parties are parties. The fourth is the inclination of these parties to place expressly committed to transforming their environments to less emphasis on social status and class when mobilizing reflect their values and ideologies through electoral politics support. The fifth is the gradual ascendance of special inter- and other legitimate means. Fourth, because parties operate ests groups, mostly with financial and or political clouts, in in liberal environments, they compete with each other for these parties especially in deciding their affairs (Kirchheimer, access to political power and resources in modern societies 1966). (Aldrich, 1995; Epstein, 1980; White, 2006). Additional insights into the character of catch-all parties Defining parties is not the only concern of scholars. They could be gleaned from other scholars. For instance, Michelle have interest in classifying them too. However, as parties are Williams (2009) is one of those scholars who notes that products of diverse sociological factors, classifying them catch-all parties are tends to be a bit problematic. Should focus be character and structure, or should it be on ideological, institutional, and identified by their size as larger mainstream parties, by their systematic convergence and divergence? These have largely pursuit of votes at the expense of ideology, by their centrist and remained contentious issues (Krouwel, 2006). For instance, often inconsistent party platforms designed to appeal to ever Maurice Duverger (1976) choose to focus on the nature of wider audiences, and their organizational style that is elite party organization—inclusive versus exclusive, general ver- driven. (p. 539) sus specific, ideologically broad versus narrow—as the most important feature to look for in classifying parties. Generally, Their genetic, electoral, ideological, and organizational this and other parameters of classification give us different dimensions not only differ from those of the other parties party models such as the elite, cadre, caucus, mass, catch-all, but, in fact, also form important criteria for differentiating cartel, and business-firm. them from other party models. There are strong indications which suggest that catch-all Electorally, catch-all parties target the middle and lower party is not only becoming the most dominant party model classes in the society as their core support bases. This is due Katsina 3 to the fact that traditionally these classes are outside the sup- Olusegun Obasanjo, convicted of plotting to overthrow port group of more exclusive parties such as cadre and cau- Abacha in 1995, was one of the released prisoners. Shortly cus parties (Mair, 2005; Webb, 2005). This makes catch-all afterward, Obasanjo joined PDP, contested, and won the parties to rely on external recruitment of supporters from all 1999 presidential election to become the first elected presi- sections of the society. Ideologically, these parties place dent of Nigeria in the Fourth Republic. more emphasis on management competence and the ability These measures helped in democratizing Nigeria success- to deliver public goods rather than philosophical argumenta- fully, especially when we consider some of the major chal- tions and doctrinaire contestations. Organizationally, catch- lenges it faced at the time. Feelings of sectional all parties marginalize their members. Ironically, in turn, marginalization were intense to the extent that some sections they are subordinated to their members occupying public were threatening to secede from the country. Then there were offices because of patronage reasons. In other words, these those who were skeptical of the military’s sincerity to keep parties depend on support from interest groups, patronage its promise of disengagement from power (Maier, 2000). from rich members, and subventions from the state to man- Freeing prisoners and inviting exiles home as well as design- age their activities (Krouwel, 2006). As this article shows in ing new legal and institutional frameworks and establishing subsequent sections, PDP fits the picture of a catch-all party. new structures, therefore, helped in facilitating reconciliation But before looking at this party, it is important to start with a and building confidence in the sincerity of the military to brief background to democracy and party politics in the democratize and disengage from power. With the benefit of Fourth Republic. hindsight, it is clear that these steps defined the subsequent trajectory of democracy in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic. They shaped the nature of its politics, its parties, its party system, Party Politics in the Fourth Republic: A its other institutions, and the long-term prospects of demo- Brief Background cratic consolidation in the country. The death of Nigeria’s military head of state in 1998, General In the pursuit of its mandate, INEC invited interested Sani Abacha, and the appointment of General Abdussalam political associations to submit their applications for regis- Abubakar as his successor changed the trajectory of democ- tration as political parties. About 26 associations submitted ratization program in the country dramatically. Before his their applications with only nine receiving provisional death, Abacha had unveiled a democratization program in approval to participate in the December 1998 council elec- 1994 but received little support from the civil society because tions. These were the Alliance for Democracy (AD), All it was perceived to have been designed to ensure his self- Peoples Party (APP), Democratic Advance Movement succession plan. This unenthusiastic reception affected the (DAM), Movement for Democracy and Justice (MDJ), credibility of the program and left the country with a transi- National Solidarity Movement (NSM), and PDP. The rest tion program defective in its popularity (Abubakar, 1998a). were the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), United Abacha’s death before the transition ran its course, therefore, Democratic Party (UDP), and United Progressive Party was a lifeline to democracy that saved Nigerians the pros- (UPP). To avoid cluttering the political space with redundant pects of an elected government with dubious legitimacy. parties, participation by any of these parties in the subse- In his first days in office, Abubakar took steps that restored quent rounds of election was made dependent on its winning the confidence of Nigerians on the possibility of having a at least 10% of the total votes in the council elections of 1998 sincere democratization experience under military supervi- in at least two thirds of the states in the federation. sion. The first step he took was to jettison Abacha’s political The outcome of the council election showed AD as having program. In its place, a new program was initiated with May won 100 local councils, APP won 182, and PDP won 389 out 1999 as the date for terminating military rule and inaugurat- of 774 local councils in the federation. The other six parties ing democratic government in Nigeria (Abubakar, 1998b). divided the remaining 103 councils with none of them getting To achieve this goal, he proscribed the institutions and struc- the stipulated percentage. Thus, with more than 70% of the tures established by Abacha to facilitate the transition local councils divided between AD, APP, and PDP, INEC including the National Electoral Commission of Nigeria granted them approval to participate in the state assembly, (NECON)—the agency responsible for overseeing elections gubernatorial, national assembly (NASS), and presidential in the country. NECON was replaced by the Independent elections of 7 January and 27 February 1999. Cumulatively, National Electoral Commission (INEC) with the mandate to the electoral performance of PDP in 1999 made it the domi- register new parties, supervise their activities, and conduct nant party in the country which controlled the federal govern- new rounds of elections. In addition, a Constitution Debate ment. This allowed the party to subsequently establish its Coordinating Committee (CDCC) was established to advise nationwide dominance over the other parties and to substan- the government on the choice of a new constitutional and tially define the structure of the party system up to 2015. political order for the country. Furthermore, Abubakar Investigations on party politics and party system in the (1998b) released political prisoners and invited political Fourth Republic showed that most of the parties are defec- exiles to return home. A former military head of state, tive in terms of cohesive sociopolitical ideologies for 4 SAGE Open attracting and securing membership loyalty. Other visible president at the end of his transition program in 1998 traits of most of the parties include their seasonal life cycles, (Osumah & Ikelegbe, 2009). policy inconsistencies, absence of institutional and financial This group later expanded its membership to 34 and autonomy, absence of genuine national outlook, and lack of became known as G34. The fundamental mission which this strong support base beyond the immediate neighborhoods of group set for itself was the total and unconditional demilitar- their leaders. Then, there are also issues of ceaseless defec- ization of Nigerian politics. It called for democratization and tions of party elites occasioned by absence of internal democ- even gave Abacha a deadline for the transfer of power to racy and accountability, and intraparty crises usually resulting civilians (Osumah & Ikelegbe, 2009). Before Abacha could into factions violently competing against each other within respond to the demands of the group, he died together with these parties (Animashaun, 2010; Lewis, 2003). PDP, like his perceived self-succession plan. Power changed hands the other parties, had its share of policy inconsistencies, and, under Abubakar, the political space was opened to inter- heavy dose of internal conflicts, absence of institutional and ested players. With this development, a number of political financial autonomy, and problems of subordination between associations mostly those denied registration by NECON party organization and members holding political offices. In under Abacha such as the All Nigeria Congress (ANC), fact, it would appear that, probably because of its position as Peoples Consultative Forum (PCF), Social Progressive Party the ruling party, these problems were more noticeable in PDP (SPP), Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), and Peoples than in the other parties combined (Katsina, 2013). National Party (PNP) joined G34 and formed a single It is, however, important to observe that some of these umbrella organization—the PDP with Solomon Lar as its pro problems are directly traceable to the incredibly short period— tem chairman. The party was registered with INEC on 28 less than a year—in which most of the institutions, structures, July 1998 (PDP, 2011a). Its performance in the local council and even the legal framework necessary for democratization elections of December 1998 made it the largest party with the were designed and incubated in the country. For instance, it widest geographical spread in the country. And unlike AD would be expecting too much from parties formed in less than and APP, its two contemporaries, PDP had a truly national a year not only to show maturity and discipline but also to composition and outlook even at that period. Indeed, it was exhibit cohesive ideologies and sufficient institutionalization. the only party that was not associated with any one ethnic or The absence of sound social policies guiding their pursuit of religious group in the country. power, the ideological emptiness underpinning their cam- Between 1999 and 2011, PDP had won every presidential paigns, the fickle nature of the loyalty of the party elites, and election in Nigeria, producing three presidents in the persons the unwieldy nature of the organizational structures through of Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’adua, and Goodluck which they ran their affairs are all manifestations of the conse- Jonathan. Due largely to a higher and quick turnover of quence of this short period. It could be argued that these par- national leadership, PDP is undoubtedly the most unstable ties have power literally thrown on their laps before they were and crises-ridden party with low-internal cohesion in the sufficiently prepared for it. These factors contributed substan- Fourth Republic. Between 1999 and 2015, the party was tially in the formation of a skewed party system in which a managed by no less than 11 national chairmen all of whom single party dominated the polity while the other parties sat on left office in controversial circumstances. Although Solomon the fringes and provided weak and ineffectual opposition for Lar served as its foundation chairman, its first substantive 16 years (Akubo & Yakubu, 2014; Animashaun, 2010; chairman was Barnabas Gemade who was elected at its post- Katsina, 2013; Lewis, 2003). 1999 general elections convention. Many observers believed that this convention was rigged by Obasanjo to achieve a predetermined objective. Audu Ogbeh was later elected to PDP: Formation and Nature replace Gemade. In 2005, Ahmadu Ali was appointed as the In fact, it is remarkable that since the 1999 general elections replacement to Ogbeh. The next national chairman was that brought it to power, PDP had managed to remain the Vincent Ogbulafor who was replaced by Okwesilieze Nwodo only party substantially intact from organizational point of in 2010. After Nwodo resigned in the same year, Halliru view until 2015. Its two contemporaries, AD and APP, had Mohammed and later Kawu Baraje were appointed as acting suffered a less glorious fate. AD had split into factions, a national chairmen. After the 2011 general elections, PDP situation which saw its decline and loss of relevance in elected Bamanga Tukur as its national chairman, who was Nigeria’s electoral space. APP, however, had merged with also replaced by Ahmed Adamu Mu’azu in controversial cir- other parties and changed its identity and character (Chidi, cumstances in 2014 (“PDP Chair,” 2015). 2015). The formation of PDP dated back to the historic step taken in 1997 by a group of 18 eminent but angry Nigerians PDP Ideology: Cohesion or Confusion known as the G18. The grouse of this group led by Alex Ekwueme—Nigeria’s former vice president in the Second Leadership problem was not the only challenge that PDP Republic—was Abacha’s militarization of the political space faced while it held power. It also suffered from absence of and his perceived plan to transform himself into a civilian coherent ideological principles that could have focused its Katsina 5 government and guided its members in public offices. There These were administration of justice, building a strong is a general understanding that ideology is central to the economy, reviving agriculture, boosting health services, strength, viability, and solidarity of a party. It also distin- strengthening national defense, and providing transportation guishes parties from each other in the political system services. Other goals were to ensure energy security, reliable (Vassallo & Wilcox, 2006; Volkens & Klingemann, 2002). communication system, internal security, provision of afford- We have already seen that most parties in the Fourth able water supply, building strong labor force, employment Republic suffered from absence of cohesive ideologies. A and wages, natural mineral industries, iron and steel, youth plausible explanation for this revolves around their nature as and sports, culture, women empowerment, human rights, catch-all parties that made it easier to adjust to convenience environmental obligations, civil service, strengthening of tra- rather than ideological coherence and consistency. Nothing ditional institutions, affordable housing, developing tourism, supports this than the vague and fuzzy interpretations of lib- land, and a robust foreign policy (PDP, 2011b). When we jux- eralism and free market principles that passed for its ideol- tapose these principles against the different policy thrusts and ogy. Evidently, this was meant to satisfy specific interests: agenda which Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’adua, perhaps its rich benefactors, or simply to burnish its liberal and Goodluck Jonathan pursued while occupying the presi- credentials. dency, it does not baffle therefore to note that all indices of The vision, mission, and objectives upon which PDP as a sociopolitical and economic development sharply declined. party was originally conceived were not different from the Poverty level rose, so was insecurity, sectarian tension, cor- way other parties viewed their objectives in other democra- ruption, and bad governance under PDP’s rule (“Bitter Truths cies such as Ghana and Senegal (Kura, 2009). The funda- About Economy the Jonathan Government,” 2014; “Nigeria mental objectives which PDP gave for itself in its founding Was Almost a Pariah State Under Jonathan,” 2016). constitution centered around democratization of Nigeria, The explanation for this poor situation is partly located in promoting national reconciliation, building true political and these type of principles which the party espoused under its fiscal federalism, and ensuring equitable distribution of rule. They were generic that gave no clear-cut direction for power, wealth, and opportunities to conform with the prin- governments produced by the party. They only exposed its ciples of power-shift and power-sharing. Its other objectives nature as a catch-all party quick to stretch its principles and were to promote the rotation of key political offices, and an policies to accommodate conflicting interests. This does not equitable devolution of powers to the zones, states, and local imply complete absence of ideology in these parties. Most of governments so as to create sociopolitical conditions condu- them gravitate toward neoliberal capitalist ideology. It is not cive to national peace and unity. The rest were to institution- difficult to see how this observation aptly fits PDP. When we alize the rule of law, social equality, and justice; build an compare its principles and objectives against the liberal tradi- egalitarian society; promote independence of the judiciary; tion, it is easy to see that these ideas have their larger narrative and eradicate illiteracy from Nigeria (PDP, 1998, preamble). within this discourse, albeit in its distorted form. Interestingly, Akin to Marxists’ mantra, PDP is equally interested in build- this process of “stretching” for political expediency continued ing a country “in which all Nigerians are equal, where each in the organizational structure of the party where, obviously, contributes according to his ability, where no one person the concern was to placate party elites and patrons through dominates and where no political party belongs to one indi- accommodating them in various party organs. vidual” (PDP, 1998, Art. 6). Many of these principles and objectives were modified or altogether expunged in later PDP: Internal Structure and amendments, perhaps as a reflection of new realities, or as is Organization the case with catch-all parties to accommodate certain con- stituencies and expediencies (PDP, 2009). Between 1999 when it was formed and 2015 when it suffered Turning to its manifesto for a little help on where PDP its first major electoral defeat, PDP operated on six structural stood, ideologically speaking, we confront even more nebu- levels, namely, ward, local government, senatorial district, lous principles and goals. In its manifesto, PDP outlined state, zonal, and national levels. With only two organs, exec- what appear to be the usual political commitments calculated utive committee and congress, the ward level was the lowest to please average voters in the new democracies. These in its hierarchy. Composition of the ward executive commit- include commitment to a dynamic national economy, a free tee was, however, broad enough to accommodate 17 elected and democratic society built on the foundations of social jus- members and other members holding political offices at the tice, and people-centered approach to governance. PDP also local, state, and national levels. This organ managed the vowed to wage war against poverty, promote integrated rural affairs of the party at the ward level, raised funds, and imple- development, industrialization, advancement in education, mented decisions made by ward congress and other party science and technology, and provision of basic infrastruc- organs of higher jurisdiction. Expectedly, the congress was ture. These are not the only areas which PDP considered designed to accommodate and give all registered members worthwhile, but there are at least 25 other goals which the an avenue for interaction and of exercising their powers of party set for itself. oversight at ward level (PDP, 2009, Art. 12, Sections 2-21). 6 SAGE Open Relations, however, between the party leadership and mem- made up of the state chairman, president and his deputy, gov- bers, which the congress epitomized, were not always cordial ernor and his deputy, gubernatorial candidates, political and viable. There have been numerous instances where elec- appointees serving at the national level, members of the tion of party leadership, delegates, and other functions of the Board of Trustees (BoT), state executive committee, national congress were usurped by state governments in tandem with and zonal executive committee members from the state, the national leadership of the party. This contributed in erod- national and state assembly members, and 10 commission- ing the goodwill and support which it enjoyed at the grass- ers. Other members were 10 special advisers to the governor, roots in its early days. council chairmen and their deputies, local government party Above the ward, there was the local government level secretaries, treasurers, women and youth leaders, three ward also with two organs. These were the local government exec- delegates, former members of the state working committee, utive committee and the local government congress. These former governors and their deputies, and former speakers of organs performed functions similar to those of the ward the state house of assembly and their deputies (PDP, 2009, level. Composition of these organs, however, differed from Art. 12, Sections 28-49). those of the ward. The membership of the local executive The zonal level had three organs. These were the zonal committee comprised 18 elected members including the working committee, zonal executive committee, and zonal ward executive committee chairmen and other members congress. This committee, with 10 members drawn from the holding political offices. Local government congress com- zonal executive committee, administered the party at the prised of elected delegates from the wards, the ward execu- zonal level and liaised with the national secretariat of the tive committee members, local government executive party. The zonal executive committee, however, was made committee members, and political office holders elected and up of the zonal chairman and nine other elected officials, appointed in the local, state, or federal government. president and vice president from the zone, NASS members, The next two levels above the local government were the state governors and their deputies, national executive com- senatorial district and state. The senatorial district had two mittee, and BoT members from the zone. Other members organs. The first was the senatorial district working commit- were the speaker, deputy speaker, party leader and party tee comprising of elected public officials at the state and whip in the state house of assembly, state chairmen, secretar- national levels, political appointees at the state and national ies and treasurers, and one ex-officio from each state in the levels, local government executive committee chairmen and zone. This organ performed similar functions to those of the secretaries, council chairmen and their deputies, members of state, local government, and ward levels. The last organ at the state executive committee from the district, elected coun- the zonal level was the zonal congress which also had func- cilors from the district, and five elected ex-officio members. tions similar to those being performed by sister organs at the The second was the senatorial caucus that linked the state state and other lower levels. It consisted of the zonal working executive committee and the local government executive committee, zonal executive committee, states’ executive committees in the senatorial districts (PDP, 2009, Art. 12, committee, former and serving zonal working committee Sections 22-27). members, and all national convention delegates from the At the state level, the party had four organs. These were zone (PDP, 2009, Art. 12, Sections 50-60). the state working committee, state caucus, state executive PDP had five organs at the national level, namely, national committee, and state congress. The composition of the state working committee, national caucus, BoT, national execu- working committee included the chairman of the state execu- tive committee, and national convention. The national work- tive committee, chairmen of the senatorial district working ing committee with the responsibility of routine administration committees, and 10 other members drawn from the state of the party had 12 members including the national chairman executive committee. This organ coordinated and adminis- and the secretary of the party. The national caucus was tered the daily affairs of the party at the state level. The state responsible for maintaining cordial relationship between the caucus also comprised the state executive committee chair- executive and legislative arms of government as well as man and his deputy, state secretary, treasurer, youth leader, streamlining party policies at the national level. It consisted party officials, and elected or appointed public officials serv- of the national chairman, president and vice president, three ing at the state, zonal, or national levels. In the state execu- ministers nominated by the president including the attorney tive committee, there were the state chairman, elected general and secretary to the government of the federation, officials of the party from the state serving at the zonal and special advisers to the president on political and NASS mat- national levels, 23 other elected officials of the party, and ters, senate president and his deputy, senate leader and his council chairmen. This committee, through the state working deputy, senate whip and his deputy, speaker and his deputy, committee, administered the party at the state level. house leader and his deputy, and the house whip and his dep- The state congress was the highest organ at the state level uty in the House of Representatives. Other members were with power to elect state executive committee members and the chairman and secretary of BoT and one member from gubernatorial candidates. This committee also approved each of the six geopolitical zones, deputy chairman, secre- party budget. The composition of the state congress was tary, legal adviser, treasurer, women leader, national youth Katsina 7 Representatives, and founding members of the party. Additional members included two women and three other members selected from each of the six geopolitical zones. BoT is responsible for ensuring highest ethical standards for the party, advising the party on appropriate policies, and sourcing funds for the party (PDP, 2009, Art. 12, Sections 76-83). PDP’s structure and its linkages with various organs at the local and national levels are presented in Figure 1. The national convention of PDP was its highest decision- making organ. It designed and ratified the party constitution, approved budget, elected national officers, and nominated presidential candidates. Its composition included members of the national executive committee, the president, vice pres- ident, ministers, ambassadors, special advisers and special assistants to the president and vice president, members of the NASS, governors and their deputies, and all gubernatorial candidates under the party. Other members were 10 state commissioners and special advisers, members of the house of assembly, BoT members, zonal working committee mem- bers, state executive committee chairmen and secretaries, local government executive committee chairmen, one elected national delegate from the local government congress, coun- cil chairmen, members of PDP serving as chairmen of fed- eral boards, former members of the national working committee, former deputy senate presidents, and deputy speakers of the house of representatives (PDP, 2009, Art. 12, Sections 84-93). Figure 1. Organizational structure of PDP. Looking at the elaborateness of this structure, there is the Source. Constructed from PDP (2009). tendency to believe that it succeeded in accommodating con- Note. PDP = Peoples Democratic Party; BoT = Board of Trustees; NWC = National Working Committee; ZWC = Zonal Working flicting interests within its fold and strengthened its support Committee; SWC = State Working Committee. base. However, because the party from inception depended heavily on the support and patronage of rich benefactors, control of the party structure gradually passed into their leader, and national security adviser to the president (PDP, hands. This greatly affected internal democracy, promoted 2009, Art. 12, Sections 61-70). the ascendance of rich interest groups, and the dominance of PDP’s constitution vested the power to organize the par- elected and appointed party members with fat purse. From ty’s national convention with the national executive commit- 2006, PDP began to witness mass defection from its ranks to tee. Other functions of this organ were to implement decisions other parties. So severe was this defection movement that of the national convention and to supervise other party organs prominent members including Atiku Abubakar, then at all levels. It comprised 25 elected officials and four ex- Nigeria’s vice president, several state governors, former cab- officio members. Other members were the president and his inet members, and countless federal legislators dumped the deputy, BoT, senate president and his deputy, senate leader party (“VP Wins Opposition Ticket,” 2006). To properly and his deputy, senate whip and his deputy, two senators appreciate how this situation affected the party electorally from each of the six geopolitical zones, speaker, deputy and led to its eventual defeat in 2015 general elections, let us speaker, house leader and his deputy, house whip and his look at the electoral strength of PDP beginning from 1999. deputy in the house of representatives, and three members of House of Representatives from each of the six geopolitical zones. The rest were state governors, state party chairmen, PDP: Size and Electoral Strength and all former deputy national chairmen, chairmen, and sec- Between 1999 and 2015, Nigeria had witnessed five general retaries of BoT (PDP, 2009, Art. 12, Sections 71-75). The elections, each with four rounds of contests for presidential, other two national organs of the party were BoT and the gubernatorial, national, and state assemblies. For PDP, the national convention. Membership of BoT was confined to 1999 general elections were its defining moment. The out- members who have attained 50 years of age and had served come of these elections established its strength and conferred or were serving in an elective capacity such as the president, on it the status of the dominant party in Nigeria. Subsequent vice president, national chairman, deputy national chairman, elections entrenched this dominance until March 2015. Table 1 national secretary, senate president, speaker of the House of 8 SAGE Open Table 1. Presidential Elections Results, 1999-2011. 1999 2003 2007 2011 2014 S. No. Party Votes % Votes % Votes % Votes % Votes % 1. AD/APP 11,110,287 37 — — — — — — — — 2. ANPP — — 12,710,022 32 6,605,299 18 — — — — 3. APC — — — — — — — — 12,853,162 44 4. CPC — — — — — — 12,214,853 31 — — 5. PDP 18,738,154 62 24,456,140 61 24,638,063 69 22,495,187 58 15,424,683 53 Source. African Elections Database (n.d.). Note. AD = Alliance for Democracy; APP = All Peoples Party; ANPP = All Nigeria Peoples Party; APC = All Progressive Congress; CPC = Congress for Progressive Change; PDP = Peoples Democratic Party. Figure 2. Presidential elections results, 1999-2015. Source. Constructed from Table 1. shows the results of the five presidential elections held By 2015, this dominance in NASS was altogether lost to between 1999 and 2015 and the performance of PDP against APC. And for the first time in 16 years, PDP had become the its closest rival in those elections. The first presidential elec- minority party in the country. Evidently, presidential and tion held on the 27 of February 1999, the second was on the NASS elections must have a bearing on gubernatorial elec- 19 of April 2003, the third was on the 27 of April 2007, the tions in Nigeria. For the same pattern which we observed in fourth was on the 16 of April 2011, while the fifth was on 21 those elections appears visible in the gubernatorial election March 2015. During the 1999 presidential election, PDP too. Table 3 shows that the sway of PDP over state govern- sponsored Olusegun Obasanjo against Olu Falae of AD/APP ments reached its peak in 2007, after which it began to alliance. In this election, 62% of the votes gave PDP the decline until 2015 when it was only left with about one third presidency and made it the ruling party at the federal level of the total number of states in the federation. (Figure 2). There are a number of reasons that explain this rise and The performance of the party in the gubernatorial and fall of PDP in the span of 16 years in Nigeria. Chief among NASS elections from 1999 to 2015 appears to have followed these reasons was the absence of internal democracy espe- similar trend with the presidential elections. Table 2 provides cially in the process of nominating flagbearers. Several a summary of the NASS elections in this period. The NASS members had complained about this bitterly, and there had is the highest lawmaking organ in Nigeria. Structurally, it is been instances where judiciary had to intervene to redress a bicameral house with the senate containing 109 members injustice related to primary elections in PDP (Kura, 2011; equally divided among the 36 states in the federation and one “PDP Primaries and Jonathan’s Candidacy,” 2011). There senator from the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and the was also its evident disdain for rule of law in how it dealt House of Representatives with 360. Members of the House with internal dissension. Elements considered subversive to of Representative are divided in proportion to the population the president and state governors were often edged out of size of each state. party affairs. The incidence of membership renewal in 2006 The general picture from Table 2 suggests that PDP’s for- where Atiku Abubakar was conveniently denied re-registra- tunes rose steadily until 2011 when they began to plummet. tion opportunity by his ward executive was instructive here Katsina 9 Table 2. NASS Elections Results, 1999-2015. 1999 2003 2007 2011 2015 S. No. Party Senate HoR Senate HoR Senate HoR Senate HoR Senate HoR 1. ACN — — — — 6 32 18 66 — — 2. AD 19 68 6 34 — — — — — — 3. ANPP 23 80 27 96 16 62 7 25 — — 4. APC — — — — — — — — 60 225 5. CPC — — — — — — 7 35 — — 6. PDP 67 212 76 223 85 262 72 201 49 125 Source. African Elections Database (n.d.). Note. NASS = national assembly; HoR = House of Representatives; ACN = Action Congress of Nigeria; AD = Alliance for Democracy; ANPP = All Nigeria Peoples Party; APC = All Progressive Congress; CPC = Congress for Progressive Change; PDP = Peoples Democratic Party. Table 3. Formation of State Governments by Parties, 1999-2015. No. of states No. of states No. of states No. of states No. of states S. No. Party (1999) (2003) (2007) (2011) (2015) 1. ACN — — 1 6 — 2. AD 6 1 — — — 3. ANPP 9 7 5 3 — 4. APC — — — — 23 5. APGA — 1 — 2 — 6. CPC — — — 1 — 7. LP — — — 1 — 8. PDP 21 27 28 23 13 9. PPA — — 2 — — Source. Nigeria Elections Coalitions, “Gubernatorial Elections”; http://nigeriaelections.org/gubernatorial.php. Note. ACN = Action Congress of Nigeria; AD = Alliance for Democracy; ANPP = All Nigeria Peoples Party; APC = All Progressive Congress; APGA = All Progressives Grand Alliance; CPC = Congress for Progressive Change; PDP = Peoples Democratic Party; PPA = Progressive Peoples Alliance. (Diamond, 2008). Equally contributing to its defeat was the tore his membership card continued unabated after its defeat. process of undermining the mutual trust that guided the party Already, several prominent members had either resigned such in its early days which was embraced and completed by as Bamanga Tukur and Tony Anenih, or defected such as Goodluck Jonathan when, in 2011, he rejected the principle James Nwobodo. And with several of its top members facing of power rotation as enshrined in the party’s constitution various charges of corruption, it is not likely to see the party (Ojougboh, 2015). For voters, the causes for its defeat were mobilizing needed resources to rejuvenate itself any time soon more immediate and had direct bearing to its inability to (“Sheriff’s Chairmanship: PDP Faces Mass Defection,” 2016). combat corruption, entrench good governance, fight insecu- At present, the party is polarized into camps with each rity, and stabilize the economy (Akinloye, 2016). staking claim to legitimacy. The crises that this polarization created had already consumed its acting national chairman, Uche Secondus. But his replacement, Ali Modu Sheriff, is PDP: Wearing the Toga of Opposition not a person that engenders confidence in the minds of Nigeria practices presidential democracy, a situation that Nigerians. Besides charges of corruption and abuse of office spares PDP leaders the ordeal of having to form a shadow gov- hanging on his neck, there is the perception among many ernment. However, as the party and its leaders adjust to the Nigerians, even if unsubstantiated, that Sheriff was the new role which the events of March 2015 forced on them, stu- founder and sponsor of Boko Haram while he was the gover- dents of Nigerian politics will ask these questions: Is PDP nor of Borno state between 2003 and 2011 (Akinloye, 2016; capable of providing an effective opposition to APC, and is the “Sheriff Still Under N300bn Borno Allocation Probe,” 2016; party capable of repositioning itself and bouncing back into “Sheriff’s Chairmanship: PDP Faces Mass Defection,” power in 2019? To understand the first question, we need to 2016). Whether these allegations are true or false is immate- look at how PDP has been handling post-2015 general election rial. What is important is that almost a year after its defeat shock. The defection of its prominent members started at the PDP could not find a more credible person to lead it to repo- eve of 2015 general elections with Obasanjo who dramatically sition it and revive its fortunes. 10 SAGE Open As for the second question, it is impossible to rule PDP should not be taken for granted by parties. Rather, party lead- out of political reckoning in Nigeria ever again. There have ers need to continue to work for these through respecting been instances, even if rare and uncommon, among African principles of rule of law, internal democracy, and adoption of democracies where parties that lost power at the center coherent policy blueprints for the development of their bounced back. In countries like Benin, Ghana, and Senegal, societies. incumbent presidents and their parties had at different times lost elections and accepted defeat only to strategize and win Declaration of Conflicting Interests back power later (Kura, 2009). Much of this, however, The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect depend on the interplay of several variables including how to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. the defeated party reposition itself, and the party in power acquitted itself. For PDP, therefore, the challenge depends Funding on how it resolves its internal contradictions, entrenches The author(s) received no financial support for the research and/or internal democracy, sheds the gradual appearance of sec- authorship of this article. tional character it has been taking since 2015, and becomes once again attractive to the voters in the next 3 years. Much References will also depend on the popularity of APC in the years Abubakar, A. (1998a, June 9). 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Abuja, Nigeria: PDP National Headquarters. published by IIUM Press, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Journal

SAGE OpenSAGE

Published: Jun 12, 2016

Keywords: party politics; opposition; Nigeria; fourth republic; democracy

References