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

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant 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 Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

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