n Journal of African Elections - Party formation and electoral contest in Nigeria : the Labour Party and the 2007 election in Ondo State




While principles like popular participation, accountability and majority rule, rather than institutions, define the framework of democracy the primacy of political parties therein cannot be overemphasised. Indeed, the effectiveness of political parties is directly proportional to the degree of resilience democracy enjoys. The deepening of the democratic system which should ordinarily accompany the paradigmatic shift in Nigeria's highly restrictive party formation system effective November 2002 was, however, lost through the widespread manipulation of the April 2007 elections by President Olusegun Obasanjo's PDP government. Yet the intervention of the Labour Party in the politics of Ondo State remains undiminished by the widespread abuse of the electoral process, validating the hypothesis that 'the process of party formation is highly dependent on the structural and institutional context of the individual politicians ...' (Perkins 2000); and that the capacity of a political party is largely a function of its organisational structure, itself influenced by the wider prevailing governance structure within which it operates. Even so, the LP faces the challenge of institutionalisation in the context in which it exists virtually in only one state, and in a country where the tortuous democratic transition trajectory is defined and undermined by the mushrooming of political parties.


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