News / Africa

Nigerian Senators, Former Governor Switch Sides

Heather Murdock
Nigeria's ruling People's Democratic Party appears to be crumbling as five more senators defected to a powerful new opposition coalition.  But some analysts said it’s not just ruling party members adjusting allegiances ahead of 2015 presidential elections. 
 
The People’s Democratic Party, or the PDP, has been in power in Nigeria since the country transitioned from military rule to democracy in 1999.  It is easily the most powerful, organized and well-funded party in the country.
 
But in recent months, the unshakable prowess of the PDP has been challenged as five governors and 37 members of the House of Representatives abandoned the party.  They all joined a new party, the All Progressive Congress, or APC, which formed last year when Nigeria’s major opposition parties merged.
 
“The battle within the party is intensifying,” said Clement Nwankwo, director of the Democracy and Legal Advocacy Center in Abuja.
 
He said the battle began because Nigeria’s many problems haven’t been fixed or even addressed in the past four years under President Goodluck Jonathan.  The country’s poverty, insecurity, lack of electricity, and near-economic collapse in several regions are just some reasons the president’s party is losing clout.

“Conversely, you have people who love the environment that he provides for their business, for their making money and so on.  So they would do everything to keep him there.  Including close aids of his keep saying to him, ‘Mr. President, don’t mind all of them.  The PDP is a big machine.  It’s going to win elections,” said Nwankwo.  
 
But it’s not just ruling party members that are changing allies.
 
This is Ibrahim Shekarau, an APC leader and a former governor of Kano state, holding a press conference alongside dozens of other northern leaders on Wednesday.  He says they are all leaving the new opposition, to join the ruling party.  He said the APC lacks “commitment, transparency and accountability.”
 
Some observers say political moves made these days are more about jockeying for power than supporting policies.  Onyiye Gandhi, a lawyer in the Niger Delta, the heart of Jonathan’s support base. “This is politics. You only have permanent interests.  There are no permanent friends," Gandhi explained. "There are no permanent enemies.”  
 
The elections are planned for early 2015 and Jonathan is widely expected to run.  After his 2011 victory, nearly a thousand people were killed in post-election violence.

Hilary Ugaru contributed to this report from Niger Delta.

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by: Uyome from: Asaba, Nigeria
February 04, 2014 8:55 AM
I still do not see any meaningful progress coming out from the APC because its composition first speaks for its self. The APC is lopsided as an Islamic party and those not have a National outlook as a party for Nigeria in its composition on-like PDP . Take a close look at its executive, its imperative that voting any person from this party, APC is like accepting the norms of Islamic charade in our constitution which of course is not balance.
As a South-South and Old Eastern Region citizen, I would re-vote President GEJ for second term and prefer to vote a South-Easterner in 2015.

by: john fashek from: lagos nigeria
February 03, 2014 8:13 AM
Frankly speaking, it is not the problem president jonathan administration that is ineffective but the problems of the northern nigeria who wants to conolise the whole Nigeria for life that is the problem of Nigeria! They have sponsored boko haram terrorists insurgents to kill Innocent people and make government, as the fulanis of northern nigeria promised to make old Nigeria of today ungovernable, makes Nigeria of present day moving towards anarchy! Only God in His mercy can save people of Nigeria from heartless people

by: Vakaa mathias from: Gboko,benue state
February 03, 2014 2:42 AM
We are not going continue as fools in this contry,democracy as of 1999 thier is nothing point so let them go and vote thier self .

by: Ochigbo from: Kaduna
February 03, 2014 2:31 AM
change is the only constant thing in life. this current happening is good for democracy.

by: Great nigeria from: PH
February 02, 2014 1:51 AM
Great nigeria youth, do not be decieved by the antics & gimicks of the so called APC selfish/greedy politician, because it's an old wine in a new bottle. God bless nigeria!

by: omaliko india from: India
February 01, 2014 11:14 PM
This APC members where are they when the former president olushegu obasanjo and Atiku abubaka was in power? Yaladua was also in power no comment because of their return from the power holder .. now that Jonathan says no for all this corruption every one become angry with him and plan boko haram to claim amnesty... the Muslim world want to tun Nigeria to Muslim country which is not going to happen.. now that Jonathan look at our economy

by: kabiru Bako from: jalingo
February 01, 2014 6:16 PM
vote Gudluck Jonathan for President..Alh Garba Umar UTC for Governor Taraba state.insha Allah.

by: Emmanuel Ukpe from: Silver Spring, MD
February 01, 2014 3:01 PM
Nigerians, please do not be fooled, regardless how much a snake changes skin, it will always remain a snake…Decamping to ACP, are just bunch of disgruntle politicians. Changing party from PDP to APC does not change the personality…Ask yourself, how many corruption bill/s did our law makers present in the last 12years of democracy? How many of these Senators/Member of the House of Rep., did you see visit their constituency to check if things are okay with the people they represent? Do not forget that these elected officials get allowances in millions of Naira every quarter (not their salary) to represent and visit your constituency…Changing party is not going to change their behavior. Fellow Nigerians, politicians jumping ship is simply for their selfish-interest, not for us…if we truly want a change, the only way to a positive change for the country is; DO NOT REELECT ALL THESE BAD EGGS.

by: olokodana yusuf from: lagos nigeria
February 01, 2014 1:05 PM
The only thing that can save Nigeria is CHANGE. We are tired of these PURLOINS DECEIVING PEOPLE{PDP}

by: anonymous from: Nigeria
February 01, 2014 12:06 PM
it seems Nigerians are tired of this entanglement and want to seek real freedom. Hence they want to create the change they aspire to see.
In Response

by: One Nation from: lagos
February 01, 2014 7:26 PM
It is only the opposition uniting to make fools of themselves. Nigerians know better than to allow the nation fall into wrong hands hands the interest of which is to loot and to bare their teeth
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