Updated 20 December 2013
AP*Comparative Government
and Politics Examination
|What You Need to Know

A major change in the Nigerian political landscape

In September 2013, three opposition parties announced their merger to oppose the ruling Peoples Democratic Party in the 2015 presidential election. The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) formed the All Progressive Congress. Then in November, seven state governors and former vice-president Atiku Abubakar walked out of the PDP Congress promising to join the new party.

In December, 37 PDP members of the House of Representatives declared their membership in the APC, denying the PDP of a majority in the House. Rumors abound that similar defections in the Senate will take place in January.

Unitl the fall of 2013, the PDP had been unrivaled in the fragmented world of Nigerian politics in the fourth republic. The death of President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua in 2010 sparked the changes in the political landscape.

Yar'Adua, a northerner was succeeded by Goodluck Jonathan, a southerner. According to the "gentlemen's agreement" within the PDP, the presidency was to alternate between southerners and northerners. But Yar'Adua died before serving the eight years that "belonged" to the northerners.

To make matters worse, Jonathan won election to a full 4-year term after serving the remainder of Yar'Adua's first term. Now President Jonathan is expected to run for a second term. Northerners in the PDP are unhappy and organizing to deny Jonathan and the southerners that power.

This might lead to the development of real competition between parties. It might lead to widening the cleavages that divide northerners from southerners (and by implication between Muslims and non-Muslims). The results might be much worse. Economic and political integration might be the deciding forces.


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kw 20Dec13