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

    Video Twists and Turns Aplenty in US Presidential Race

    Even as Americans pause for this week’s Memorial Day holiday, much attention is focused on the presidential contest

    Iran Orders Social Media Sites to Store Data Inside Country

    New requirements are expected to affect the instant messaging app Telegram, which has more than 20 million users inside Iran

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora