Background to the Study
The Federal Republic of Nigeria covered an area of 923,76889km on the shores of the Gulf of Guinea. Its population is extremely diverse with over 250 ethnic group including Hausa, Fulani, Yoruba, Ibo, Tiv, Kanuri, Edo, Nupe, Ibibio and Ijaw account for nearly 80% of the total population.
The coastal enclave of Lagos became a British Colony in 1861, a center for expansion of British trade, missions and political influence. Late 18th and early 20th century, Lagos was also a center for educated West African elements which were to play prominent roles in the development of Pan-Africanism as well as Nigerian Nationalism.
The Northern and Southern Nigeria were merged into single territory in 1914, and a legislative council initially with limited African representation was created in 1922. Traditional native rulers however admitted various territories under the supervision of the colonial government. In 1947 a Federal system of government was established under kingdom. This system was based on three region; Eastern, Western and Northern.
Before independence, nationalist continued their demand for the extension of franchise and the holding of direct elections. The federation became self-governing in 1954. The Federation of Nigeria achieves independent on 1st October 1960, Tafawa Balewa of (NPC) Northern People Congress became the federal prime minister and minister for foreign affairs and Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe of NCNC became the Head of state. This continued until October 1963 when the country adopted a revised constitution and Dr. Azikwe took office as Nigeria’s first president. The major problem that confronted the federal Government within the period was threat to Federal Government unity evidence by ethnic rivalry, factionalism and desire for autonomy within the federal system. This led to the formation of various political groupings and political alliances.
Statement of the Problem
In recent times, Nigeria has been facing various political crises from all level of government and in most of the major political parties, particularly the ruling People Democratic party.
We are aware that parties should possess certain characteristic and that they are meant to perform certain functions, hence we shall try to assess the role of political parties in Nigeria since 2003 through this research work. Since 2003 the role of political parties is still fluid, in many cases the so called political parties since 2003 have become a major part of the problem in Nigeria.
The issues in the plural character of Nigeria should have reviewed in 1998 as was done in 1989 throwing the system open to anyone with ethnic and religious agenda. Today tribalism or ethnicity or regionalism or statism is a reversed platform for aspiring politicians and for those in various offices in the country. This is a delimitating disease. It is worse than what Sir. James Robertson released in 1974 when he confessed after fourteen years of leaving Nigeria, that the British colonial rules underestimated the strength of tribalism in Nigeria.
It’s obvious that a lot of scholars and people have written on various party politics and crisis management in Nigeria party system and no agreed and complete resolution have been made. This has attracted us into embarking on this research work and write on the crisis and how it was resolved in the past. This could give the general citizen in future the knowledge to solve future crisis.