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

Islamic State Survivor: A Yazidi Girl's Tale

Sarah Said Haydar, captured a year ago while fleeing Islamic State onslaught in northern Iraq, was so traumatized by militants, she sought to end her own life More

EU, US Applaud Kosovo Law on Special Court

Joint statement says lawmakers' decision to address allegations of war crimes 'demonstrated their commitment to the rule of law and to honor international agreements' More

ASEAN Ministers to Push for S. China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' 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.
Cambodia Makes Progress Curbing Bear Tradei
X
Robert Carmichael
August 04, 2015 3:07 PM
Cambodia’s wild bears are under unprecedented pressure. Their native forests are being cut down at record rates, and China's huge demand for traditional medicine has made them targets. But experts say Cambodia's conservation efforts are setting an example that has put it well ahead of its neighbors in protecting bears. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.
Video

Video Cambodia Makes Progress Curbing Bear Trade

Cambodia’s wild bears are under unprecedented pressure. Their native forests are being cut down at record rates, and China's huge demand for traditional medicine has made them targets. But experts say Cambodia's conservation efforts are setting an example that has put it well ahead of its neighbors in protecting bears. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.
Video

Video Growing Number of E. Jerusalem Palestinians Seek Israeli Citizenship

Most Palestinians living in East Jerusalem have long rejected the option of full Israeli citizenship, seeing it as a betrayal to their political cause - the formation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. But as that dream remains elusive, more and more Palestinians are applying for Israeli citizenship. Zlatica Hoke reports the decision is hard for many Palestinians who say they have to be pragmatic about it.
Video

Video With No Money, More Students, African Universities Struggle

Academics from around the African continent converged in Johannesburg last week for the African Universities Summit, a chance to tackle some of the major issues facing higher education in Africa today. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Wisconsin's Voter ID Law Still Mired In Controversy

Voter ID laws have sparked controversy across the US. More than 30 states enacted laws requiring citizens to show identification before they vote. Against fierce opposition, the state of Wisconsin recently enacted one the most restrictive voter ID laws in country. As Jeff Swicord reports, no one can predict its impact as the 2016 election nears.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Hailed as Highly Effective

At last, there's a way to end the suffering from the Ebola epidemic that has ravaged West Africa for more than a year. Researchers say the vaccine is so effective, there may never be a major outbreak of Ebola again. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs