LESSON NOTE ON GOVERNMENT – SSS 1
A political party is an organized group of people who have the same ideology and presents candidates for elections in an attempt to get them elected so as to take control of political power and administrative machinery of a state and thereby implement the agenda of the party.
The main aim of a political party is to attain political power and this distinguishes it from other groups in the political system e.g. pressure group.
CHARACTERISTICS OF POLITICAL PARTIES
- They are well structured and organized from national to local levels.
- They have manifestos which is the cardinal plan and programme that the party intend to implement if elected.
- They contest in elections.
- They engage in campaigns through the media, rallies, congresses and conferences.
- They carry out primary elections within the party to choose popular candidate for general elections.
FUNCTION/IMPORTANCE OF POLITICAL PARTY
- Political or voters Education: political parties educate the electorate through their manifestoes, lectures, rallies and so on.
- They serve as a check on the ruling party by engaging in constructive criticism.
- Political parties are a platform for recruiting and training political leaders.
- They serve as a link between government and the people.
- They nominate and sponsor candidates for election.
- They serve as opposition to the ruling party.
- They serve as agents for change of government.
- They exist to contest elections and control government.
TYPES OF POLITICAL PARTY
- Mass Party: it cuts across various tribes and interests. People are free to join from every works of life. It is also known as branch party.
- Elitist Party: it is made up of people of the upper class. It is also known as caucus or cadre parties.
- Religious Party: formation of this kind of party depends on religious doctrines. It is common in countries like Iran and Palestine.
- Broker Party: it is the party of both the rich and the poor with the aim of promoting equality and people’s welfare.
- Charismatic Party: these are formed by unique and enviable qualities who attracts remarkable followership.
PROBLEMS OF POLITICAL PARTIES
- These include:
- Inadequate funding
- Poor organization
- Inept leadership
- Anti-party activities
- Factional interests
- Favouritism and imposition
THE ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURE OF A POLITICAL PARTY
- Board of Trustees (BoT): BoT controls the financial affairs and high-powered decisions of the party.
- National Secretariat: it is responsible for running the affairs of the party.
- National Working Committee (NWC): this makes decisions on and deals with specific matters.
- National Executive Committee: this committee draws up policies and programmes of the party. It also coordinate party activities at local levels.
- National Conference: the conference is responsible for organizing national delegates’ conference.
- General Convention/Congress: it is a gathering of representatives to elect candidates for different elections or to take important decisions.
- Regional/State Branches: it coordinates activities of all constituency branches.
- Constituency Branches
- Local Government Branches
- Ward Levels: this is the smallest unit of a party structure.
- Party Affiliations
- (a) Define political party
- (b) What are the characteristics of political party?
- (c) Highlight the functions of political party.
- (d) Describe the various types of political party.
- (e) Describe the organizational structure of a political party.