Isaiah Bukola Olatunbosun
Able Haruna Azabagun
Department of Peace and Conflict Studies
Faculty of Social Sciences
Federal University Oye Ekiti

Right from the commencement of Nigeria’s Fourth Republic in 1999, the political system is depicted to have been characterized by the predominance of the two major political parties- APC and PDP. These parties alternated the positions of the ruling and the opposition parties between themselves. Therefore, this research paper investigates the performances of the Labour Party in the 2023 general election in Nigeria. It further assesses the strategies that could transform the party into a formidable force in Nigeria. The study adopted an ethnographic research design to analytically and systematically describe the perception of individuals on the performances of the Labour Party during the February 2023 election in Nigeria. Data were collected from both primary and secondary sources. The study made use of 25 key informants who were selected through a purposive sampling technique. It was discovered that the Labour Party significantly influenced the political landscape in Nigeria by challenging the political parties that were hitherto considered invincible, especially in their respective strongholds. The study revealed that the Labour Party lacked a viable structure that ensured proper monitoring of votes at polls. The study concluded that the Labour Party has awakened youth consciousness and instituted a challenge to the dominance of the All-Progressive Congress and Peoples Democratic Party in the political arena. The study made some recommendations that if adopted by the policymakers will go a long way in restructuring the electoral practices in Nigeria in such a way that the masses’ trust in democracy is regained.
Keywords: Labour Party, Election, APC, PDP, Political Party

Regular free and fair elections signify one of the most important institutions of participatory and liberal democracy. Elections, which can take different forms based on what the polity in question deems appropriate for use, serve as an indispensable aspect of democracy (Robert & Obioha, 2005). However, Ujo (2008) observes a discrepancy between elections and voting. He opines that election is an all-encompassing word with wide coverage, that entails other activities before, during, and after voting. Nonetheless, voting is the actual procedure in which individual choice is made from various alternatives. The extent to which elections contribute to the advancement and continuity of democracy, specifically in those that are nascent and developing, is largely dependent on factors that influence the electorates in determining their choice (Ujo, 2008).

Political parties under a liberal democratic system are expected to help deepen democracy and development by pursuing public policy measures and programs to advance public welfare in line with their manifestos and ideologies (Ibeanu, 2018). However, a political party is much more than an organization for seeking and controlling political power. More critically, it is an organization for expressing and harmonizing interests and that intermediates between the citizens and political society, government, and the state. Because of its diverse roles, a political party is a major source and a breeding ground of electoral conflicts as well as a major platform for expressing, reconciling, and managing electoral competition and contestation.

This particularly connotes the significance of political parties in a democracy. Hence, ‘without well-developed parties as a buffer, the State is constantly battered and endangered by societal demands’ (Perkins, 2000). Unarguably, in all democracies of the world, political parties serve as the engine house of politics as they (are expected to) perform certain vital democratic functions. The role of parties in established democracies is not in dispute. What is in question is their ability to perform their roles in contemporary times, and this questioning is not limited to any particular region but all over the world. For instance, in the United States, Dalton and

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