Political Parties

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August 1, 2021

First Republic

Action group Member Card

Nigeria as at independence had about18 political parties but only a few had what we could  consider as National parties. In fact, the biggest parties were strong in the regions in which  they were established.



NNDP Poster

The Obafemi Awolowo-led Action Group (AG) had strong roots in the Western region. The Sardauna led Northern People’s Congress (NPC) established in 1949 had strong footings in the Northern part of the country. The Nnamdi Azikwe NCNC which was first known as the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons before Independence and rechristened the National Convention of Nigerian Citizens after Southern Cameroon left Nigeria to be part of Cameroon in 1961. The NCNC was very prominent in the Eastern Region and it was the closest to what had a national spread of the three major parties.

This was not to say other parties didn’t pull weight but the parties listed above were able to play politics along regional lines and thus had the majority of followers in their respective regions. Other parties that were existent as of the first republic which had a medium following included The Mallam Aminu Kano Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU) which rivaled the NPC in the north. Other parties in the north included the shortly-lived Borno Youth Movement and Zamfara commoners party.

NCNC Poster






In the middle belt of the country, parties such as United Middle Belt Congress (UMBC) had members across the states we consider North Central these days, the Igala Union which was quite sym- pathetic towards NPC had its root in Igalaland in present-day Kogi, the Igibira Tribal Union had its roots in Igbiraland.

In the East, The NCNC had the Democratic Party of Nigeria and the Cameroons(DPNC) and The United National Independence Party (UNIP) as parties they are contending with.

In the West, The AG was the leading party but other parties were Dynamic Party which was formed by Chike Obi in Ibadan, and the Midwest Democratic Front which had its base in today’s Edo and Delta state.

These parties were abolished after the Military took over power in 1966.


Second Republic

Following the assassination of General Muritala Muhammed, his successor, Olusegun Obasanjo was keen on returning power to the civilians and a new constitution was drafted and one of the main features of this constitution was the transition from the Westminster Parliamentary system of government to the American styled Presidential system and parties were allowed to form for the elections that happened in August 1979 which brought in Alhaji Shehu Shagari as the first Executive President of Nigeria.

Election poster for NPN

There were six major political parties that contest- ed in the 1979 general elections and they included the Ibrahimi Waziri led Great Nigeria People’s Party, National Party of Nigeria (NPN) which would produce the Executive President for the two elections that happened in that period, there was also the Tunji Braithwaite led Nigeria Advance Party, there was also Nigerian Peoples Party (NPP) which had a lot of big wigs from the now-defunct NCNC, the People’s Redemption Party which was like a rebirth of the first republic Northern Element Progressive Union, and the Unity Party of Nigeria led by Obafemi Awolowo which had similar leanings as that of the first republic Action group.

Again these parties were abolished by the Military Junta that took over in 1983.

Third Republic

The third republic was the short-lived republic between 1991 and 1993. There were two parties in the republic which were the National Republican Convention (NRC) and Social Democratic Party(SDP). The Military formed these parties, and they were the only parties opened to the public to join. The famous Presidential election which was allegedly won by MKO Abiola was held.

Fourth Republic

APC and PDP Political Rallies

Following the death of Nigerian head of state, General Sanni Abacha in 1998, General Abubakar Abdulsalami who took over from him established INEC, and Nigeria has had two major parties since the beginning of the republic in 1999 which includes the All Progressives Congress (APC) – ruling party and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) – opposition party.

Other parties that are now defunct in the era include All People’s Party (APP), Alliance for Democracy (AD), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC).

August 1, 2021

A political party is an organized group that shares the same ideology and same political view and field candidates for elections in an attempt to take over power to be able to implement their agenda. Political parties are often considered a strong feature of Democracy.

While the above is how political parties are generally seen, sometimes political parties might be without a core ideology as they represent different ideologies from time to time depending on the situation at hand. Many at times, parties have also digressed from the ideology it had as at the time it was established.

Many countries around the world such as Ger- many, India, etc have a significant multiparty system while countries like China and Cuba run a single-party system. The United States and the United Kingdom run a two-party system with many small parties participating. Nigeria is mostly considered a two-party system with smaller parties participating more or less.

Nigeria is mostly considered a two-party system with smaller parties participating more or less.

The oldest continuous parties in the world are The Conservative Party of the United Kingdom which was founded in 1834 and The Democratic Party of the United States formed in 1828.

Currently, the oldest continuous party in Nigeria includes the People’s Democratic Party which was established in 1998 while Nigeria’s first political party was the Nigerian National Democratic Party which was founded in 1923 by Hebert Macaulay.


Political Ideologies.

A political ideology is a set of ideas, beliefs, values, and opinions, exhibiting a recurring pattern, that competes deliberately as well as unintentionally over providing plans of action for public policymaking in an attempt to justify, explain, contest, or change the social and political arrangements and processes of a political community.


Five major political ideologies:

Anarchism Absolutism Liberalism Conservatism Socialism. These political ideologies are, for the most part, mutually exclusive.

The belief that the best government is absolutely no government is known as Anarchism.

These political ideologies are, for the most part, mutually exclusive. So, a liberal government does not usually practice socialism, nor does an absolute ruler follows liberalism. The five major political ideologies have played a key role in history by shaping governments and political movements.



The belief that the best government is absolutely no government is known as Anarchism. This ideology argues that everything about governments is repressive and therefore must be abolished entirely.

A related ideology known as Nihilism emphasizes that everything—both government and society— must be periodically destroyed in order to start anew. Nihilists often categorically reject traditional- al concepts of morality in favor of violence and terror.

Anarchism and nihilism were once associated with socialism because many anarchists and nihilists supported the socialists’ call for revolution and the complete overhaul of government and society in the early to mid-twentieth century. Russia has had a long association with anarchism and nihilism.


Traditionally, much of Western civilization’s history was dominated by Absolutism, the belief that a single ruler should have control over every aspect of the government and of the people’s lives. Absolute rulers had a variety of titles, including chieftain, king, shah, pharaoh, emperor, sultan, and prince.

In some cultures, the absolute ruler was seen as a god in human form. Other peoples believed that their ruler had the Divine Right Of Kings, meaning that God had chosen the ruler to govern the rest. the belief that the ruler is head of both the governmental authority and the religious authority.


In the early modern age of the Western world (be- ginning roughly in the early 1500s and running for about 200 years), a number of changes occurred that led to new ideologies.

The European discovery of the Americas, the rise of Protestantism, the beginnings of the free-market economy, and the early stages of the scientific revolution fundamentally altered Europe. People began developing different ways of thinking to take account of these changes.


The basic tenets of Liberalism are:

Individualism:         The individual takes priority over society.

The basic tenets of liberalism are Individualism, Freedom, Equality, Rationalism, Progress, and the Free Market.

Freedom: Individuals have the right to make choices for themselves. This freedom is not absolute, and some behaviors, such as murder, are prohibited. Freedom of religion is a particularly important freedom to come out of liberalism because so many governments at the time were very closely tied to a particular religious creed.

Equality: No person is morally or politically superior to others. Hierarchies are rejected.

Rationalism: Humans are capable of thinking logically and rationally. Logic and reason help us solve problems.

Progress: Traditions should not be kept unless they have value. New ideas are helpful because they can lead to progress in the sciences, the economy, and society.

The Free Market: Liberalism and capitalism go hand in hand. Liberals like the free market because it more easily creates wealth, as opposed to traditional economies, which often have extensive regulations and limits on which occupations people can hold.

These basic characteristics of liberalism have led liberals to argue in favor of a limited government, which draws its power from the people. In practice, this has meant favoring a democratic government.


Conservatism (also known as Classical Conservatism) began as a reaction against the liberal ideas taking hold of Europe during the French Revolution in the late eighteenth century.

Conservatism emphasizes:

Conservatism emphasizes Collectivism, Public Ownership, Central Economic Planning, and Economic Equality.

Stability: Stability is a precious thing, and change must be made gradually in order to preserve it. Undermining stability is very dangerous because societies can easily fall into chaos and violence. Classical liberals frequently called for revolution, which opens the door to great turbulence, according to the classical conservative view.

Concreteness: Liberalism is too abstract. It focuses on freedom and equality, not on the concrete way people live every day.

Human Fallibility: Liberalism overestimates human beings. Humans are frequently ignorant, prejudiced, and irrational. By ignoring these defects, liberalism becomes unrealistic.

Unique Circumstances: There is no universal answer to the problems of society; the circumstances are unique in each country.


Socialism arose as a response to the Industrial Revolution, which was the emergence of technologies such as the steam engine and mass production.

The Industrial Revolution started in England in the last years of the eighteenth century and had spread to much of Europe and America by the end of the nineteenth century. It caused major upheavals: In a very short time, many people were forced to abandon agricultural ways of life for the modern mechanized world of factories.

Socialism arose as a response to the Industrial Revolution, which was the emergence of technologies such as the steam engine and mass production.

Early versions of socialism were put forward in Europe in the first part of the nineteenth century (these versions are often dubbed “utopian socialism”), but truly influential socialist theories did not emerge until industrialization expanded in the mid-nineteenth century. Karl Marx is the best-known theorist of socialism.

Along with Friedrich Engels, Marx wrote The Communist Manifesto (1848) as a call to revolution. Other prominent socialists thinkers included Karl Kautsky, Vladimir Lenin, and Antonio Gramsci.


Socialism emphasizes:

 Collectivism: Human beings are social by nature, and society should respect this. Individualism is poisonous.

Public Ownership: Society, not individuals, should own the property.

Central Economic Planning: The government plans the economy; there is no free market.

Economic Equality: All citizens have roughly the same level of prosperity.

Democratic socialism has been quite successful in western Europe and Scandinavia. Many governments there have extensive welfare systems that have remained largely intact even when democratic socialists are voted out of office.