News / Africa

Mega-Party Seeks to Challenge Nigeria’s Rulers

Members of All Progressives Congress party waves brooms the symbol of the party as former military ruler and Presidential aspirant Muhammadu Buhari, delivered a speech during the party convention in Lagos, April 18, 2013.
Members of All Progressives Congress party waves brooms the symbol of the party as former military ruler and Presidential aspirant Muhammadu Buhari, delivered a speech during the party convention in Lagos, April 18, 2013.
Heather Murdock
Nigeria's next presidential election is still nearly two years away, but three political parties have already formed what could be a formidable, north-south coalition that seeks to challenge the country's longtime ruling People’s Democratic Party.  

The PDP, has won every election since 1999, when the country transitioned from military rule to democracy. 
 
There has been an absence of an effective opposition during that time.  No individual party has been strong enough to form a solid base to challenge the PDP.  And fighting among factions has prevented a serious coalition.
 
But leaders of a new mega-party, the All Progressive Congress, or APC, say that in 2015, that dynamic is going to change.  APC party member Baba Madugu said it’s a historic change.
 
“For the first time in the history of this country, this is the first time we’re having a merger of opposition parties coming together to form a major opposition," Madugu said.
 
He added that the new party, formally established late last month, had won support from nearly a third of Nigeria’s powerful governors, from both the mostly Muslim north and the mostly Christian south.
 
Samalia Adamu, a northerner, is the Bauchi State PDP secretary.  He said deep divisions within the country and subsequently within the new party will prevent the APC from being able to unite behind a single presidential candidate in 2015.
 
“As far as we are concerned in the PDP, that is not going to be a very serious problem.  Because on the issue of who is going to be the leader, it’s enough… to destroy the entire amalgamation of the parties that form the APC” he said.

Divisions in both parties
 
But that does not mean the ruling party will have an easy go in the next election cycle, as it is also seeing increasing divisions.  At his supermarket in the southern oil city of Warri, longtime PDP member Ovie Joseph said the ruling party will have to work just as hard to unite as the new APC.
 
“This internal fight within the group is seriously destroying the party, tearing the party apart.  Unless they do something -- otherwise the party will fail ” he said.
 
On the streets in northern Nigeria, some locals say the failure of the ruling party, led by President Goodluck Jonathan, a southerner, would be a “welcome development.”
 
Austin Tsunzu, a teacher, said the current government has failed to improve the country’s economy, a common complaint in Nigeria.
 
“The new party will bring in a better change.  It will bring in development.  It will bring in politics with a human face” he said.
 
Tsunzu added that the APC is sure to succeed with men like former military leader Muhammadu Buhari at the helm.

Regional allegiances
 
But observers say that might depend on where you live in Nigeria.  Buhari who is from the north, is both deeply popular and deeply unpopular in Nigeria, depending on your region. 
 
At a newspaper stand in the south, lawyer Tony Mezeeh said because the longtime opposition party leaders are in charge of the new party, they may not be able to agree on a candidate. 
 
“That unity of a few individuals who are seeking power.  Not the majority.  Few individuals that are seeking power have positioned themselves in the forefront of APC” he said.
 
Unity among leaders, he added, will not necessarily translate to unified support on the ground. 
 
But up north, Sani, a mechanic, said the party at least gives northern leaders a chance to beat the PDP. 
 
Sani said any new leadership would be welcomed, as his region has become poorer and far more dangerous since Jonathan was elected in 2011.
 
Despite the fact that no announcement has been made, it is widely believed that Jonathan will run for office again over objections from those who say a power-sharing agreement dictates he cede to a northern candidate.  
 
Many voters say conflicting personalities within both parties may limit their ability to field candidates that truly could bring about change in Nigeria.  However, at this point, many people say they will be just happy to have a choice.

Hilary Urugu contributed to this report from the Niger Delta. Ardo Hazzad contributed to this report from Bauchi.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More