Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Clarifying things

Kevin James, who teaches at Albany High School in California, posted a link on his blog to a Deutsche Welle article that does a wonderfully clear job of explaining current party politics in Nigeria.

If you and your students read this, it might be an appropriate time to review Richard Joseph's idea: prebendalism. (You could also check out Richard Joseph's recent blog post, Prebenalism and dysfunctionality in Nigeria.)

Nigeria's governing party in crisis
Nigeria’s governing PDP party appears to be disintegrating. Several leading officials have left and founded a new party. They are opposed to President Jonathan running for re-election in 2015…

The PDP has been in power continuously since the end of the military dictatorship in 1998. Now it appears to be falling apart and the influence of President Goodluck Jonathan is dwindling. The reason is the upcoming presidential elections in the oil-rich West African nation, due in 2015, for which major players are moving into position…

The seven rebels [who stormed out of a party convention at the end of August and set up their own party] are, with one exception, governors of federal states in the predominantly Muslim north. Together they represent just over 20 percent of the Nigerian electorate and are, therefore, an important electoral factor for President Jonathan.

The rebels accuse the president of not sticking to the rules. Under an unwritten law, top political positions alternate every other legislature period between the mainly Muslim north and the mainly Christian south. Jonathan comes from the south. He became president in 2010 after the unexpected death of President Umar Yar'Adua, a northerner. One year later an election confirmed Jonathan in office. That means he is coming to the end of his second term, say his opponents…

A Nigerian professor, Dr Abdul Raufu Mustapha, who lectures on African politics at Oxford University, warns that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Many other governors and members of parliament support the anti-Jonathan course, he says, but they have not yet gone public, fearing they would come under pressure from Jonathan…

The rebellion against Jonathan has nothing to do with a religious conflict between Christians and Muslims, say both Garba Umar Kari from the University of Abuja and Mustapha. It is more a conflict of interests between Jonathan and his opponents within the party. There is considerable dissatisfaction with Jonathan's leadership style. As Kari sees it, "He has not yet been able to tackle a single one of Nigeria's fundamental social, political and economic problems. In fact, things have gotten worse." …

In addition to the new PDP, a strengthened opposition bloc could add to Jonathan's woes. In February this year four opposition parties joined together to form an alliance, the All Progressive Congress (APC)…
See: Overcoming cleavages in NIgeria

See also:  Nigerian politicians brawl in parliament over PDP split
"Nigerian politicians have exchanged punches after a splinter group from the governing People's Democratic Party (PDP) tried to address parliament.

"The lower house had just reconvened after a seven-week break - during which the new PDP faction was formed.

"But a BBC reporter says MPs loyal to President Goodluck Jonathan began shouting and jeering, which upset their rivals and scuffles broke out..."

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