This paper attempts a reasoned critique of the applicability of the concept of traditional ‘party system’ vis-à-vis the emergence and peculiar nature of political parties in Nigeria. Focusing on the various theoretical expositions of party systems and its heuristic adaptations across the globe, the paper investigated the historical antecedents of party formation, administration, composition and party loyalty and its metastasis in Nigeria. The paper observed that while multi-partism appears to have been the dominant practice from the colonial period till date, the spirit behind the formation and administration of the parties bears much of regional overtone than the entrenchment of democratic values and enhanced freedom of association, which the presence of many parties customarily entails. Beyond the various reforms in the Nigerian party system, therefore, this study hazards an observation that putting good framework on ground is not enough, there is also the palpable threat that can be self-inflicted by various factions within the political parties while each strives to find ways to secure relevance and control in usually fierce and sly manners.
Key words: Democratic governance, Nigeria, party system, political practices, good governance.
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