In the first season of our narrative podcast series, , host Wale Lawal traces the significance of the June 12, 1993 election, 30 years on. In the , we explore General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida’s creation of a two-party system, in which only the National Republican Convention party (NRC) and Social Democratic Party (SDP) were allowed to run for office.
The NRC was intended to represent right-wing views while the SDP was meant to represent left-wing views. However, critics have argued that both parties were actually similar, lacked ideological differences and consistency, and were a ploy engineered by the Babangida regime to maintain control over Nigeria’s democratic transition.
In this curated recommendation, we have compiled a list of seven books that delve into the complexities, challenges, and transformative moments that have shaped Nigeria’s party politics. Some of our book recommendations served as resources for the third episode of our podcast, while others come highly recommended for anyone seeking to uncover the nuanced layers of Nigerian party politics. Our recommendations also include personal accounts of politicians new to the scene as well as a fiction novel covering party violence in Northern Nigeria.
For our recommendations, read on.
GOVERNANCE AND POLITICS IN POST-MILITARY NIGERIA
Author: SAID ADEJUMOBI
Edited by Said Adejumobi, this book analyzes the progress made in Nigeria since the return to democratic rule in 1999 and the prospects of democratic consolidation in the country. After sixteen years under continuous military governance, Nigeria’s aspiration for a democratic structure was forsaken. This collection examines how democratic and developmental governance has again been denied and what must be done to chart a new and sustained course. The scholars who contributed chapters to this book explore various themes, including party politics, the electoral process in Nigeria, and more.
BORN ON A TUESDAY
AUTHOR: ELNATHAN JOHN
Born on a Tuesday is a compelling novel about a young boy struggling to find his place in a society that is fracturing along religious and political lines.
In far northwestern Nigeria, Dantala lives among a gang of street boys who sleep under a kuka tree. During the election, the boys are paid by the ‘Small Party’ to cause trouble. When their attempt to burn down the opposition’s local headquarters ends in disaster, Dantala must run for his life, leaving his best friend behind. He makes his way to a mosque that provides him with food, shelter, and guidance. With his quick aptitude and modest nature, Dantala becomes a favored apprentice to the mosque’s sheikh. When bloodshed erupts in the city around him, Dantala must decide what kind of Muslim—and what kind of man—he wants to be. Told in Dantala’s voice, this astonishing debut explores the ways in which young men are seduced by religious fundamentalism and political violence.
PARTY POLITICS AND INTRICACIES IN NIGERIA’S DEMOCRACY
AUTHOR: UGOCHUKWU OBIWULU
The institutional-systemic corruption that characterizes the Nigerian polity, coupled with the high-handedness of political parties and their officials who often violate constitutional provisions by hand-picking candidates during elections or party primaries, is a pressing concern. Hence, it is very imperative to understand the factors influencing the role and decisions political parties and their officials play and why they had embark on such roles. This comprehension is necessary to appreciate why party politics in Nigeria has been marred by inconsistencies and irregularities. The better we understand the roles of these institutions, the better we can comprehend the nature of governance in Nigeria.
STEPPING OUT: A ROOKIE’S GUIDE TO NIGERIA’S POLITICS
AUTHOR: BISI OGUNWALE
In 2015, 30-year-old Bisi Ogunwale ran a political campaign to unseat the incumbent in order to occupy the Oke-Ogun Constituency seat in Kwara State House of Assembly. Though unsuccessful, Ogunwale shares his story. Stepping Out gives an account of some of the experiences of a young professional that decided to walk an uncharted path of partisan politics. It also gives recommendations on some of the major reforms that Nigerian political parties need to go through to ensure inclusiveness of the younger population in the political process. This memoir is highly recommended for anyone looking to get involved in Nigerian politics.
LOVE DOES NOT WIN ELECTIONS
AUTHOR: AYISHA OSORI
In 2014, Ayisha Osori answered a call from within to contest the primaries for a seat in the National Assembly on the platform of Nigeria’s ruling party—the People’s Democratic Party. Dissatisfied with the quality of representation in office and after years of advising on and working to get more women into leadership positions, she became curious about what it would take to contest and win.
This book covers her unexpected journey into Nigerian politics. Osori takes the reader through midnight meetings, encounters with envelopes full of money, encounters with prayers for sale, tracking the First Lady, and attempts to persuade President Jonathan to realize the damage caused by the party’s automatic ticket policy. In this book, you’ll also discover what it takes to win (or lose) the primaries of a major political party in Nigeria.
Told in a witty style, Osori takes her readers on a spellbinding journey into the political underbelly of Nigeria.
POLITICAL PARTY FINANCING AND ELECTORAL POLITICS IN NIGERIA’S FOURTH REPUBLIC
AUTHOR: BABAYO SULE
In Political Party Financing and Electoral Politics in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic, Babayo Sule provides a detailed analysis of the process of political party financing in Nigeria from 1999 to the present. Sule links the party financing process with the electoral process and explores issues of democratic accountability, transparency, and corruption in Nigeria under democratic rule. Issues of excessive spending, violation of legal procedures for party financing and monitoring of parties’ activities, particularly, finances are explored. The book presents an analytical discourse on elections and processes that influence an election in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic in which party financing and money politics are instrumental. This book observes how political corruption gains root in the process of party financing and builds a theory linking party financing, electoral politics, and democratic accountability. It provides practical policy implications for strengthening Nigeria’s electoral process and transparency in its democracy.
NIGERIA’S ABORTED 3RD REPUBLIC AND THE JUNE 12 DEBACLE: REPORTERS’ ACCOUNT
AUTHORS: DEBA UWADIAE, EMEKA NWOSU, SEGUN OLANIPEKUN, AND ABIODUN ADENIYI
This is a collection of narratives by thirty-three political journalists of the era, capturing a number of the political dramas in Nigeria between 1987 and 1994. The book provide insights on Nigeria’s political past exploring tragic mistakes made by the military and political actors of the era, lessons we have refused to learn as well as what might have been had we followed a different trajectory.
Nigeria’s Aborted 3rd Republic And The June 12 Debacle: Reporters’ Account is a fresh addition to research efforts aimed documenting what actually transpired before, during and after the 1993 election. The books utilizes accounts of eyewitnesses such as media correspondents attached to political institutions such as the Electoral Commission and the political parties of the period.