News / Africa

    Tensions Rise Over Divisions in Nigeria’s Ruling Party

    Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan (file photo).Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan (file photo).
    x
    Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan (file photo).
    Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan (file photo).
    Heather Murdock
    Nigeria's ruling party remains deeply divided after splitting in two late last month.  And while some politicians say they can re-unite the two parties, the split is already raising tensions ahead of what could be a violent 2015 presidential contest.

    Since Nigeria transitioned from military to civilian rule in 1999, every president, including current President Goodluck Jonathan, has been a member of the People’s Democratic Party, or the PDP.  And even though it is still 2013, Nigeria’s 2015 election season is already in full swing.

    Late last month, seven of Nigeria’s governors declared a new PDP leadership, a move the old leadership called “self-seeking and treacherous.”  The party is now split into two groups popularly referred to as the PDP and the "new PDP."

    The "new PDP" accuses the government of incompetence, corruption and of failing to stop security crises.  They demand Jonathan cancel his expected - but not announced - 2015 run for reelection. 

    Muhammad Lawal Isa, chairman of the "new PDP" in Bauchi in northern Nigeria, says the local chapter was supposed to establish a game plan on Saturday, but when they showed up for the meeting they were dispersed by armed police.

    At the inauguration of a new "new PDP" office last month in River State in the south, police declared the meeting criminal and took down the PDP and Nigerian flags outside the building.

    Since then, leaders of both parties have been hurling insults at each other in the local press, with both sides claiming the other is trying to weaken the nation.

    But some PDP members say the division is temporary and that the two parties will not be competing, but re-merging after negotiations that are set to begin October 7. 

    “They have set a committee which will now draw the final agreement and then based on their demands and then the peaceful steps taken by Mr. President so that the entire dissatisfaction will be finally resolved once and for all,” says PDP spokesperson Mohammed Jalo.

    Others say reconciliation is impossible because neither side will agree not to field a candidate.  Supporters of opposition parties, which recently merged into one "mega-party," say the split is a good thing, because it will also divide public opinion, giving the opposition a better chance at winning in 2015.

    In his office in the Niger Delta, the heart of Jonathan’s support base, Isitoah Ozoemenea, the head of the political science department of the College of Education in Warri, says elections in Nigeria have never been fully contested because of PDP domination.

    “So I am one of those persons who wishes that not only the issue will expose the rot within the system but will give the opportunity for the emergence of credible opposition,” says Ozoemenea.

    But in Nigeria, elections are not just about gathering votes.  Politicians are known to hire unemployed young men to intimidate opponents, and political loyalties are often based on religion, ethnicity and Nigeria’s invisible north-south divide. 

    Yusuf Arrigasiyyu, executive director of Muslim League for Accountability in Kaduna, a city in an area called the "middle belt," where more than 800 people died in post-election violence in 2011, says if the ruling party remains divided, 2015 could be worse.
     
    “If they insisted that Jonathan must not contest in the next elections than I’m seeing from the threats from those people from the Niger Delta creating problems.  Therefore the grassroots starts taking sides.  And if they start taking sides I’m afraid Nigeria will be in what we don’t want,” he said.

    He says the upcoming election is already mired in confusion and post election violence is expected no matter who contests.  The "new PDP," he says, may be just another divide to fuel the fighting.

    Hilary Uguru contributed to this report from the Niger Delta, Ardo Hazzad from Bauchi, Ibrahima Yakubu from Kaduna, Peter Clottey from Washington, D.C.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora