Administration Of Justice And Internal Party Democracy: A Study Of 2007 People’s Democratic Party Gubernatorial Primary Election In Rivers State

Project and Seminar Material for Political Science

Administration Of Justice And Internal Party Democracy: A Study Of 2007 People’s Democratic Party Gubernatorial Primary Election In Rivers State


The democratization process is a continuous one and political parties play an integral role in it. Nigerian political parties are no different. However, since the inception of the Fourth Republic in 1999, Nigerian political parties have betrayed a very low rate of internal democracy. This is more obvious in the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) especially as it relates to the conduct of party primaries. This study examined administration of justice and internal party democracy in the 2007 gubernatorial election primaries. Two research questions which bordered on the application of the rule of law and the structure of the PDP were raised. Using the Marxist theory of the State as the framework of analysis, it was revealed that the PDP is oligarchic in structure and thus revolves around a few influential party leaders whose words constitute law in the party. But for the intervention of the judiciary, the PDP hierarchy would have succeeded in subverting justice in Rivers State PDP during the 2007 gubernatorial election primaries.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

Political parties are constitutionally formed to facilitate the establishment and sustenance of democratic rule. They are the instruments through which democratic process evolves. Their primary responsibilities are to, among other things, recruit and prepare candidates for elections. They check the excesses of government policies and programmes by serving as opposition to a ruling party. And importantly, they are involved in political education of the citizenry, especially in developing countries (Abdullahi, 2007:35). One of the major problems faced by the judiciary today is the legal way of deciding disputes arises from the actions of the political parties which, in many occasions require some political processes (Miller, 1990). Thus, due to tendency of the political parties to use legal powers for political purposes, judiciary is to play a role to review questions which appear to be political in nature but with legal elements. This requires a discourse. Judicial review in this context is a legal way in which the court controls or overturns the actions of the political parties, or decides disputes arising from the exercise of powers and functions by the political parties (Fisher, 2001). Nigeria was until 1999, devastated with military rules. However, almost 14 years (1999-2013) into democratic rule and in spite of sustainable democratic government, peace and security have been threatened and difficult to achieve. To maintain peace andsecurity, the role of political parties in the country is paramount. These among other roles include; democratic sustainability, maintenance of peace and security and serve as a unifying force in a divided polity. The general administration of election, despite sporadic minor setbacks, suggests that elections may not be a “fading shadow of democracy” or “without choice” (see Schedler, 2002; Omotola, 2010). One may be persuaded to contemplate the celebration of Nigeria’s democracy and doing that will amount to various misreading of the situation and an underestimation of the challenges of democratic consolidation by promoting democratic political culture and security, whatever push and pull, which are often much more daunting than  the  task of  establishing it.  Some core  defies in Nigeria  are difficult and tiring task  of political  conflict resolutions and internal democracy. This is because intra-party democracy is central to the maintenance of orderly society in any democracies. According to Scarrow (2000), democracy needs strong and sustainable political parties with the capacity to represent citizens and provide policy choices that demonstrate their ability to govern for the public good. With an increasing disconnect between citizens and their elected leaders, a decline in political activism, and a growing sophistication of anti-democratic forces, democratic political parties are continually challenged. Political parties are crucial actors in representative democracies. Parties can help to articulate group aims, nurture political leadership,  develop  and  promote  policy  alternatives,  and  present voters  with  coherent  electoral  alternatives.  It has been observed in recent times that many political parties in Nigeria find it difficult to adopt an open system that will not only allow members of the party to participate in the decision making but also give them constrained opportunity to contest in elections under the party’s platform. This kind of socio-political restriction is poisonous and has resulted in party wrangling, acrimony and cross-carpeting in many Nigerian political parties. Is there intra-party democracy in Nigeria’s political parties?  Can Nigerian  political  parties  stand  the  test  of  time  in  maintaining  peace  and  security,  and  consolidating  democracy  when assessed against their roles? These and other related questions are engaged in this piece with a view not only to understanding the depth of the crisis and contradictions of 2011 primaries and general elections, but also to mapping a viable path towards maintaining  peace  and  consolidating  democracy in  Nigeria.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Maintenance of internal democracy, through the process of selecting candidates among political parties in Nigeria, particularly in the People’s Democratic Party has remained a vexed issue (Akubo et al, 2014). Therefore, enhancing democratic process since the launch of the fourth democratic dispensation has also been a daunting task in the country. After decades long colonial rule, military rule and epileptic democratic surge, it was expected that the new democratic dispensation would create an avenue for the maximization of democracy in the country. The trend remains an overt reliance on structures of political parties to aid in the achievement of such democracy; since political parties are dividends and makers of democracies, it is expected of them to not only aid in achieving the needed democracy in the country, but also ensure that they maintain democratic principles within themselves. In essence, political parties were seen as the purveyors of the democracy, because they themselves exude democratic principles among members. Hence, the achievement of these roles is largely hinged on the capability of the party to foster internal unity, relations, democracy and cohesion However, although these political parties theoretically befit constitutional qualities and prospects ascribed to them, enhancing internal democracy remained a herculean task in practice; they have been bereft of proper adherence to their respective constitutional party structures, particularly in the process of selecting candidates and conducting its primaries. Such discrepancy has sparked odious cases of internal conflicts among them, resulting to the enmeshment of intra-party conflicts in the fabric of political parties. In the spate of this, intra-party conflicts in Nigeria have reduced political parties to a “liability than an asset to the common man and the system at large (Omotola, 2010: 141)”. Amidst these, the People’s Democratic Party has unfortunately remained the carrier of such odious legacies of internal crisis. Since its establishment, it has demonstrated wide ranges of internal conflicts, thus creating the necessity for the study of the political party.

1.3 Objective of the Study

The objectives of the study are;

  1. To ascertain the relationship between administration of justice and internal party democracy
  2. To interrogate the relationship between party politics and internal democracy in Nigeria.
  3. To access the consequences of lack of internal democracy among political parties on the political development of Nigeria.
  4. To proffer solutions on how best to enhance internal democracy among political parties in Nigeria

1.4 Research Hypotheses

For the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;

  1. H0: there is no relationship between administration of justice and internal party democracy.
    H1: there is no relationship between administration of justice and internal party democracy
  2. H02: there is no relationship between party politics and internal democracy in Nigeria.
    H2: there is relationship between party politics and internal democracy in Nigeria.

1.5 Significance of the Study

This study will is considered significant in the following ways: Firstly, it will help decision making organs, institutions to determine the basis for political party formation in Nigeria in order to achieve National integration and political development. Secondly, invaluably, it will contribute to academic knowledge as regards to function of political parties to political development. Furthermore, it will create awareness and inspire a sense of responsibility on members of political party on the role expected of them to achieve good governance and political development

1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study

The scope of the study covers administration of justice and internal party democracy. The researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;

a) Availability of Research Material:

The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study

b) Time:

The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

c) Organizational Privacy:

Limited Access to the selected auditing firm makes it difficult to get all the necessary and required information concerning the activities.

1.7 Definition of Terms


The process or activity of running a business, organization, etc


Justice is the legal or philosophical theory by which fairness is administered. As with most philosophically-driven disciplines, the concept of justice differs in every culture. An early theory of justice was set out by the Ancient Greek philosopher Plato in his work The Republic


Situated on the inside.


Democracy, in modern usage, has three senses—all for a system of government where the citizens exercise power by voting. In a direct democracy, the citizens as a whole form a governing body and vote directly on each issue. In a representative democracy the citizens elect representatives from among themselves.

1.8 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

  1. Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
  2. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
  3. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  4. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  5. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to ascertain administration of justice and internal party democracy

In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges of administration of justice and internal party democracy

5.2 Summary

This study was administration of justice and internal party democracy. Four objectives were raised which included: To ascertain the relationship between administration of justice and internal party democracy, to interrogate the relationship between party politics and internal democracy in Nigeria, to access the consequences of lack of internal democracy among political parties on the political development of Nigeria, to proffer solutions on how best to enhance internal democracy among political parties in Nigeria.In line with these objectives, two research hypotheses were formulated and two null hypotheses were posited. The total population for the study is 200 members of PDP in portharcourt, Rivers state. The researcher used questionnaires as the instrument for the data collection. Descriptive Survey research design was adopted for this study. A total of 133 respondents made up wards chairmen,wards secretaries, old members and new members were used for the study. The data collected were presented in tables and analyzed using simple percentages and frequencies

5.3 Conclusion

Political parties are very important in any democratic system of government. Agbaje in Anifowose puts it succinctly when he said, dysfunctional political parties in a supposedly democratic country is worse than tea without sugar, it is like trying to pass brown water as tea There can be no meaningful democracy without a properly functioning political party system. It is obvious; therefore that political parties constitute the heart of democracy the more vigorous, democratic and healthy they are the better assured is the consolidation of the democratic process itself.

5.4 Recommendation

Based on the issues reviewed in this study, the following recommendations are apt: All political parties should have a clearly defined philosophy and ideologies that will enable them conform to the dictates of their manifestoes and the fundamental laws of the land. Political parties should be funded not by government but by contributions from party members. Government funding for political parties should therefore be stopped, so that only the serious ones can survive and face up to the dictates of their calling and others wither away naturally.

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