News / Africa

Divisions Threaten Continued Dominance of Nigeria's Ruling Party

TEXT SIZE - +

Divisions within Nigeria's ruling party threaten its continued dominance as the country prepares for elections next year.

The People's Democratic Party is the undisputed king of Nigerian politics, having won the last three presidential elections, holding majorities in both houses of parliament, and controlling more than three quarters of Nigeria's state governorships.

But the PDP is split by a series of internal battles over a party chairman facing federal corruption charges and the suspension of party leaders who want to make the selection of candidates more transparent.

With politicians positioning themselves for elections next year, acting President Goodluck Jonathan says the ruling party's continued dominance of Nigerian politics is under threat.

"If we all don't work together, then of course we can not win elections mostly. One major challenge we have as the ruling party is that demands will be there. Opposition will want to crack that," he said.

But it is not external opponents who pose the biggest threat to PDP control because no other party has the breadth of membership or depth of organization.

"If you think of the threat to that dominance in terms of enabling the other parties to gain further ground, I wouldn't think so. If you think of the threat to the PDP in terms of its breaking up, becoming something different from what we know now, yes, that is possible," said Nnamdi Obasi,   a senior analyst with the International Crisis Group.

Would-be reformers believe the selection of President Umaru Yar'adua was unduly orchestrated by former president Olusegun Obasanjo. With President Yar'adua too ill to finish his first term, they want the selection of the next candidate to be more transparent.

Obasi says the party's reform movement is a combination of principle and private interest.

"There are people who are not really interested in running for any office but think that the debacle of the Yar'adua administration was brought about because the selection of Yar'adua was not a free and fair process," he said. "If you [had] free and fair primaries, you would have gotten a more competent, and perhaps more healthy person into that position. And the same thing applies to governorships in a number of places. So first of all, there is an interest in democratizing the process of the primaries."

Obasi says there are others who want to change the rules to boost their own political fortunes.

"There are members of the reform movement who have their own personal interests and see the powers of the governors as standing directly in the way of their own ambitions. And so they are fighting for reforms not from the point of view of principle, not from the point of view of achieving greater internal democracy in their party, but strictly in order to enable their own realization of their own ambitions," said Obasi.

Acting President Jonathan says the issue is not the difference of opinions within the PDP, but how some members have allowed those differences to divide the party.

"In every human society there may be tendency for people to disagree on certain issues," he said. "Even husbands and wives will always disagree. But the most important [thing is] this is how we resolve our crises, and PDP has the power to do so."

Mr. Jonathan says the dispute may ultimately help the party.

"Maybe some of this helps PDP to work together. And I always believe in PDP. There are people who believe PDP will split into fragments, but no matter we disagree, at the end of the day PDP will come on stronger," he said.

Mr. Jonathan himself is one of the areas of dispute within the party as he is from southern Nigeria and has not ruled out running in next year's election.

Party Chairman Vincent Ogbulafor says the next candidate should be from northern Nigeria to complete the eight years promised northern politicians under an informal power-sharing agreement that rotates the presidency between the mainly-Muslim north and largely-Christian south every two terms.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid