FLAWED PARTY PRIMARIES AND THE CHALLENGES OF ELECTORAL CREDIBILITY IN NIGERIA: A CRITICAL ANALYSIS

Fidelis C. Nnaji

Department of Political Science, Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki, Nigeria

Email: fidelis.nnaji@ebsu.edu.ng; 07033432263

Abstract

The recurrent issues of flawed party primaries and controversial party candidature in Nigeria’s contemporary political milieu are antithetical to democratization. This paper sets out to examine the critical interplay between party primaries, intra-party conflict and quest for credible elections in Nigeria’s fourth republic. Using the Group Conflict Theory which postulates that conflict among individuals is borne out of irreconcilable selfish interests, the paper argues that the endemic controversial party primaries, parallel congresses, wave of party cross-carpeting, super-imposition of candidates and post-election litigation are traceable to non-adherence to institutional rules that guide the conduct of party primaries in Nigeria. Essentially, data for the study are sourced through documentary method in conjunction with content technique of analysis. Findings of the study reveal that the prevalence of intra-party conflict and dubious primaries are inimical to Nigeria’s quest for sustainable democracy. Thus, despite the existence of formal rules, political parties flout the guidelines with impunity and jeopardize the democratic system. The study therefore recommends for the adoption of punitive measures that are backed by the law against individuals who circumvent INEC statutory rules, electoral acts and party constitutions.

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