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Characteristics of Multi-Party System

1. The parties in the Nigerian experience tend to polarize along ethnic lines. Examples include Northern People Congress (NPC) for the Hausa/Fulani, Action Group (AG) for the Yorubas, National Council of Nigerian Citizens (NCNC) for the Igbos. In recent times, National Party of Nigeria (NPN) was dominated by the North, Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) was predominantly a Yoruba party and Nigeria Peoples Party (NPP) was an Igbo dominated party.

2. Another significant feature of the system is the perpetual tendency towards the formation of coalition government and political compromises. The difficulty which normally arises from the inability of a single party to win popular majority at elections usually leads to two or more parties coming together to form a government and reaching a compromise before or after an election by the aligning parties and factions in the polity.

3. Opposition party/parties are allowed to exist.

4. A chief feature of the system is political pluralism and divisiveness. This implies the presence of so many competing and irreconcilable interests and groups in the society and each group seeks to project or advance her interest in the political system.