The Social Democratic Party (SDP) was created by the Federal Military Government in 1989 as part of its transition to civil rule programme. AlhajiBaba Gana Kingibe was the first Chairman of the party. He was succeeded by ChiefTony Anenih. Other leading members of the party were ChiefSolomon Lar, Major GeneralShehu Musa Yar’Adua, Chief AbrahamAdesanya and ChiefM.K.O. Abiola.
Objectives of the Social Democratic Party had a left-of-the-centre ideology. According to the government, the SDP had a little to-the-left ideology. In other words, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) was supposed to be a welfarist party.
Achievements of the Social Democratic Party (SDP)
Social Democratic Party (SDP) won the local, state and federal elections held between 1991 and 1993. For example, it produced 12 of the 21 governors of the Third Republic and controlled the Houses of Assembly in the twelve states across the country. The SDP also had the majority in both houses of NationalAssembly.
The party’s presidential candidate in the 1993 presidential elections, Chief M.K.O Abiola was widely believed to have won the elections, which were later annulled by the Federal Government on 23rd June, 1993. The Babangida Administrative gave no reason for the action, which later precipitated widespread political crises in the country.
Problems of the Social Democratic Party (SDP)
Though the party was generally believed to have won the 1993 presidential elections, it failed woefully to organize itself and mobilize its teeming supporters to claim its popular mandate. Rather, the leadership of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) became self-serving and allowed narrow sectional interests to override genuine national interest.
Furthermore, there was little to choose between the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and its rival, the National Republican Convention (NRC) in terms of membership and ideological clarity. It was therefore not a surprise that the party collaborated with the NRC to undermine its victory in the 1993 presidential elections.
Like any other state sponsored institution, the SDP was unable to resist government manipulation and infiltration of its leadership.