Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Flexing political muscles

The newly organized political opposition in Nigeria is set to test the extent of its powers.

Nigeria's APC opposition to block budget
Nigeria's main opposition party has called on its MPs to block all legislation including the 2014 budget.

This would remain the case until "the rule of law" was restored in oil-rich Rivers state and "Nigeria in general", the All Progressive Congress said.

The Rivers state governor fell out with President Goodluck Jonathan last year and defected to the APC.

Mr Jonathan's party has lost its majority in the lower chamber of parliament following other defections…

Nigeria is one of the world's biggest oil producers, with Rivers state supplying about 40% of all the country's oil, according to business information firm Ngex.

The row between Rivers state Governor Rotimi Amaechi and President Jonathan's supporters has paralysed politics in the state, with the police stopping the local state assembly from meeting in its building…

The APC's call to block legislation will also affect the confirmation of ministers and the security chiefs recently appointed by the president…

The PDP said the APC's directive was "as a clear and direct call for anarchy"…

Analysis by Aliyu Tanko
This is a prelude to next year's presidential election and a big blow to President Goodluck Jonathan, who seems to be losing virtually all of the political clout he inherited.

This new twist shows just how desperate Nigeria's two main political parties are to get control of a state that makes the highest contribution to the central government from its oil revenue.

Rivers state has been in a fix since its governor joined the opposition APC - and there have been allegations that the governing PDP is using the police as a tool of intimidation. The APC recently took control of the lower chamber of parliament and wants to use that strength to force the government to agree to its demands by removing the Rivers' police chief.

It is not clear how the issue will be settled as the PDP will use everything at its disposal to make sure Rivers state, the most populous state in the oil-rich Niger Delta, returns to the fold. What is clear is that it cannot be business as usual for the PDP which has won all elections since the end of military rule in 1999.

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