Political Parties and National Integration in Emerging Democracies: A Focus on the Nigerian State

S. M. Omodia

Abstract


Political Parties are Political institutions which are basically designed for power acquisition for the purpose of utilizing power for public good. In other words, political parties as agents of political development are expected not only to articulate and aggregate political interest but as a secondary group, political parties are expected to bring to their fold members from various ethnic background, class and religion for the purpose of galvanising them for national development. Thus, the concepts of people and integration are so central to the conception of leadership and organisation that defines political parties. This paper through the use of historical political analysis and the use of the structural-functional theory unfolds the activities of political parties in emerging democracies as regard the process cum pattern of mobilization for power acquisition and the utilization of such power for national development and integration. Based on the analysis, the deduction is that even though the leading political parties in Nigeria are national in outlook – both in party structure and membership, the parties are defective based on institutional weakness and the inability to provide functional check on party representative in government after utilizing the party to gain political offices. This is coupled with restrictive access to political offices through the zoning of such offices based on ethnic consideration, thereby fuelling ethnic identity in the Nigerian body – politic. The paper therefore views political parties as integrative mechanisms not only for deepening and widening democratic culture in emerging democracies but also as agents of national integration and development.

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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