Party Politics and Democratic Governance in Nigerian Local Government Administration: The Case of Rivers State (1999-2010)

Vincent Nyewusira, Kenneth Nweke


The interface between party politics and democratic governance has not been thoroughly explored and problematized in the democracy debate in local government administration. Current debates have tended to focus more on symptoms such as poor service delivery, lack of accountability, corruption, non-involvement of the public in policy formulation and implementation, poor staffing, lack of autonomy, and by default, leaving out the lethal influence of party politics in the discourse. The article is, thus, an attempt to addressing the question of whether party politics catalyzes or hinders democratic governance in local government, using the theoretical tool of Marxist Theory of Democracy. The methodology adopted in the study is content analysis. It is hypothesized that party politics is an instrument that undermines democratic governance in local government administration. The study reveals, in the main, that the transactional nature of party politics is both antithetical and dysfunctional to democratic governance at the local government level. Within the drama of partisan politics, a regime of patronage politics that is diametrically opposed to all norms, values and tenets of democratic governance is instituted. The paper recommends the introduction of a zero or non-party system in order to eliminate, or at least, minimize the incidence of patronage party politics that has severely impaired democratic governance at the third tier government.

Key Words: Party politics, Democratic governance and Local government

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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