An Assessment of the Impact of Direct Primaries on Internal Democracy of Political Parties in Nigeria

Asuquo, Ubong Linus (2022-04)


The study assessed the impact of direct primaries on the internal democracy of political parties in Nigeria. The broader objectives of the study were to assess the impact of direct primaries on the internal democracy of political parties in Nigeria. The further objectives of the study were to; examine how direct primaries promoted the culture of free, fair and credible election in Nigeria; analyze how direct primaries promoted inclusion and acceptability of political parties in Nigeria and assessed the challenges of political party primaries in Nigeria and how it’s mitigated. The justification of this study situates that the outcome and findings will stimulate other researchers, political parties, institutions and stakeholders to explore other aspects of the subject to improve the internal democracy within political parties in Nigeria. The study adopted the mixed research design relying on quantitative and qualitative data. Data sources were primary and secondary. Primary data was obtained from the administration of questionnaire while secondary data were taken from audit reports of elections in INEC and the APC and PDP. Purposive sampling technique was used for the selection of data and respondents while content analysis was used for the analysis of qualitative data. The quantitative data were analyzed and presented using percentages and tables. Findings revealed that direct primaries can truly affect the outcome or the credibility of an internal democracy in political parties in Nigeria. Although, whatever style political parties choose as their primaries can influence little the choice of the electorates during the general elections. In as much as the electoral law recognizes consensus as a means of selecting flag bearers of political parties, direct primaries is also an institutional measure put in place to ensure that candidates that represent them at general elections are people that have already been sieved by the parties and her members. The research also revealed that political parties invariably reflect the environment in which they operate. Nigerian political parties therefore cannot automatically become democratizing in their internal affairs by adopting direct or indirect primaries overnight when the state that constitutes them remains largely undemocratic and pervasive and consequently mandates a politics of extremism rather than moderation. Conclusively, the study recommended that INEC should be strengthened with necessary provisions by the electoral act by the National Assembly to sanction parties that violate the processes of party primaries as stipulated in the electoral act. Ultimately, Political actors should eschew the winner takes all attitude of politicking and grabbing power. The Judiciary had been recommended to step up and review the grant of reckless injunctions and court rulings that derail the electoral process. The court room should not be the new arena of electoral contest. The possibility of courts of equal jurisdiction granting judgments and injunctions on matters that is already instituted in another court of competent jurisdiction is to say the least reckless and capable of derailing democracy.