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.

You May Like

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
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
Comments page of 2
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
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 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.

VOA Blogs

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