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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs