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

    Mother of IS Supporter Says Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.