Nigeria’s Independent Electoral Commission has registered a new political party – The Movement for the Restoration and Defense of Democracy, or MRDD.
The electoral body said by registering more parties, it was opening the political space to give Nigerian more choice. A former police boss who is the acting chairman of MRDD, Alhaji Gambo Jimeta, said the new group would give Nigerians a better alternative to the PDP which has been in power for nearly seven years. He also hinted at a possible alliance with other parties in a bid to successfully wrest power from the PDP in next year’s general elections.
But the ruling party says it is not disturbed by recent desertions from its ranks. It says those who have left do not have the ability to weaken the PDP’s grip on power. The ruling party has been in crisis over the ambition of Vice President Atiku Abubakar to run for President next year. But there’s much speculation among the political elite that his boss, President Olusegun Obasanjo, wants to amend the constitution so he can run again in 2007.
Although the Vice President has denied belonging to the MRDD, analysts say he is most likely to be its candidate if the ruling party does not nominate him to head its own presidential ticket.