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

US Gives Malaysia Questionable Upgrade in Human Trafficking Ranks

Malaysia’s upgrade seen as removing barrier to country’s participation in the US-led 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership More

Turkey, US Try to Establish Buffer Despite Differences

Coalition airstrikes in proposed zone would aim to drive out Islamic extremists, allowing targeted area to come under sway of anti-Assad rebels More

Video US: Millions Exploited by Vast Fortunes of Human Trafficking

State Department's annual report calls exploitation 'modern slavery,' brutalizing girls, women into prostitution and forcing men, women and children into low-wage jobs across the globe More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
 Previous    
by: ORITSETIMEYIN from: WARRI.
February 01, 2014 8:54 AM
Every system will create a force that will destroy it...insincerity on the part of President GEJ is the cause of mass defection and the planned filibustering by the opposition party....I personally see Mr. President as a blessing to Nigeria because without is naïve nature in all ramifications ( fighting corruption, increasing poverty, insecurity,inability to lead people) the ruling party will not crumble. And a two party system which I see as the way forward for ,Nigeria would not be achieved.

by: Anonymous
February 01, 2014 5:44 AM
change must take place ,no condition is permanent

by: Olu from: Abeokuta
January 31, 2014 8:56 PM
If changes in Nigeria's leadership system will transcend to development and growth in our economy, then let it happen now. God bless Nigeria.
Comments page of 2
 Previous    

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Wini
X
July 28, 2015 12:21 AM
The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Obama Encourages Kenya to Fix Cultures of Corruption, Discrimination

President Barack Obama bid farewell to Kenya Sunday with a major speech at as stadium outside the capital Nairobi where he called on Kenyans to change the cultures of corruption and discrimination that can hold society back. VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video California Towns Welcome Special Olympics Athletes

Cities and towns in Southern California are greeting thousands of athletes who are arriving for Special Olympics, a competition for people with intellectual disabilities. The games will run from July 25th through August 2nd. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, where athletes from Namibia, Singapore and Tanzania got a rousing welcome from local residents.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.
Video

Video Hoverbike Flying Toward Reality

Another long-standing dream of many technological inventors is quickly approaching reality: U.S.- and British-based firms are cooperating in the development of an individual flying platform they call a hoverbike. They say it may revolutionize the concept of flying, including in the U.S. military. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video As Japan Expands Defense Role, Protests Follow

The Japanese government is moving forward with a controversial security bill that would authorize the military to fight abroad for the first time since World War II. Leaders say it is critical to defend against rising threats from China and North Korea. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Japan on the big changes ahead, and the opposition they are drawing.
Video

Video Replacing Poppies with Coffee in Myanmar

The remote mountains of Myanmar’s Shan state are home to the second-largest opium-producing region in the world. After a drop during the 2000s, production surged in the past eight years to feed an increasing demand for heroin in China. But farmers are now making less on the crop, and the U.N. is hoping many will make the switch to growing coffee. Daniel de Carteret reports for VOA from Taunggyi.

VOA Blogs