News / Africa

Rebel Governors Leave Nigerian Ruling Party

Reuters
— Rebel governors who defected from Nigeria's ruling party merged their splinter group with the main opposition party on Tuesday, eroding the power base President Goodluck Jonathan would need for re-election.

Governors are among the most powerful figures in Africa's largest oil-exporting country - some control budgets bigger than those of many African states - and their influence carries a great deal of weight in selecting presidential candidates.

Seven governors from Jonathan's party have defected, the most explicit internal threat to his assumed plan to run in elections in early 2015. However, some were due to leave office or represented states that Jonathan was unlikely to win, leading analysts to question how much effect they could have.

The seven governors and ex-presidential hopeful Atiku Abubakar formed the splinter group opposed to Jonathan in August. All were present for the meeting where the decision was made to merge with the opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), said Lai Mohammed, a spokesman for the APC.

But a spokesman for one of the seven, Governor Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu of Niger State, said that “he remains a member” of the People's Democratic Party, Jonathan's party, so at least one governor in the splinter group did not back the move. Official sources close to another governor said the agreement was not yet a done deal, so another may also remain.

“After exhaustive deliberations, the two parties agreed to merge in order to rescue our fledgling democracy and the nation,” said a joint statement, read out by Kawu Baraje, chairman of the splinter group, who is not himself a governor.

'Outside there is nothing'

“The Presidency does not feel threatened, the PDP does not feel threatened,” Amed Gulak, special advisor to Jonathan on political affairs, told journalists at the state house. “Outside there is nothing. The PDP is the only party,” he said, adding the governors still had a chance to be welcomed back.

The PDP has been in power since shortly after the end of military rule in 1998, but it has increasingly been riven by internal squabbles.

Many northerners say Jonathan's running again would violate an unwritten PDP rule that power should rotate between the largely Muslim north and mostly Christian south every two terms.

The president has also made powerful enemies elsewhere, including the governor of Rivers state, Rotimi Amaechi, who is from Jonathan's own oil producing Niger Delta region but defected nonetheless.

“They have come to join the APC. The governors have all agreed. We believe they are all on board,” Mohammed said.

Amaechi told Reuters by SMS text message that the splinter group had joined the APC and Baba Dantye, a spokesman for Kano state governor Rabi'u Musa Kwankwaso, also confirmed the move.

“It is a blow to the PDP in terms of prestige, but most of the departing governors were from states where the president polled badly in 2011 and would not have been expected to win,” said Antony Goldman, head of Africa-focused PM Consulting.

With most of the defecting governors due to leave office in 2015, it is unclear how much help they can give the APC, Goldman said.

The more hotly contested the race, the more likely it is to turn violent, as it has in the past, analysts say.

It is also likely to hurt state finances, as the demands of patronage needed to fight the election grow.

You May Like

Diplomats Work to Extend Arab-Israeli Cease-Fire

Top officials from the US, France, Britain, Germany, Italy, Turkey and Qatar gather in Paris, while Israel security forces continue searching for tunnels used by militants and Gazan rescue workers search for bodies More

Photogallery US Defense Department Warns of Arms to Eastern Ukraine

‘Imminent’ delivery of Russian rocket launcher poses threat to civilians, US says More

Video Researchers: Africa Genetically Modified Crops Held Back by Scaremongering

GM crops offer best hope of increasing productivity and coping with climate change in Africa, according to co-author of Chatham House report More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Robert Osa Sylvester from: Benin City
November 30, 2013 10:32 AM
APC IS NOT MERGE AS A MISTAKE, NIGERIAN'S WANT CHANGE IN PULIC OFFICER. LIKE MY SELF I BELIVED THIS WILL BRING CHANGE TO NIGERIA AS A NATION.

WISE MOVE,WISE DECISION, WELCOME ON BOARD MY FIVE NOBLE GOVERNOR.


by: Adebayo nureni from: Ikire,state of osun
November 26, 2013 4:50 PM
A very good and wisely step, that mean Nigeria is getting ready to free from the bondage of the monopoly party. That took there decision for their enrichements only. Kudos to the facilitators, more grease to their elbow.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid