Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Friday, October 11, 2013

A little disunion

The Economist editors won't make predictions about what's going to happen in Nigerian politics. So, I won't either.

Things fall apart: The ruling party and the country’s president face their greatest-ever challenge
GOODLUCK JONATHAN, Nigeria’s president, was visibly stunned when a former vice-president, Atiku Abubakar, and seven state governors recently walked out of a convention of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP)… The party… is bitterly divided over whether Mr Jonathan (pictured above) should run for a second full term…

The breakaway faction has a distinctly northern flavour. Six of the seven rebel governors are from the north or the middle belt, exposing faultlines that have widened under Mr Jonathan, a southerner from the oil-rich Niger Delta…

On September 1st 57 PDP members of the 360-seat House of Representatives, the federal National Assembly’s lower chamber, pledged their loyalty to the rebel PDP; 22 of the 50 sitting PDP members in the 109-strong Senate then followed suit…

It is also possible that Mr Jonathan will get the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), an agency that is supposed to snuff out corruption, to probe the PDP’s defectors, some of whom have already been targeted by it…

One result of the in-fighting in the ruling party is that the momentum for economic reform, already flagging, has slowed even more. Few people now expect the long-stalled Petroleum Industry bill, which is meant to bring clarity to Nigeria’s oil industry, to pass. Nor will the PDP’s rows help the president to end violence and sabotage in the oil-rich south, where billions of dollars of oil money still fall into the hands of criminals and corrupt politicians, or to win the campaign against terrorists in the north…

The PDP’s feuding factions are to meet for talks on October 7th. Mr Jonathan… may have enough oil money to buy their way out of trouble. But for the moment the pendulum has swung in the PDP rebels’ favour…. The president, who often seems a hapless (but rarely hatless) figure on the national stage, has a real fight on his hands to keep his job…

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