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Nigeria - Political Parties

Governor's Political Parties - 2011The intense interethnic competition of the past through ethnic-based political parties has largely disappeared. The largest parties, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Action Congress (AC), and All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) are vast multi-ethnic coalitions, reflecting the many faces of their oligarch founders. The end result is that ethnic competition now occurs at the party level, rather than at the governmental level as it did in the past. Establishing a political party remained relatively easy if supporters paid the required fees. Parties generally formed around individuals rather than ideological grounds. Allegations continued the PDP established new parties to confuse voters with large numbers of candidates. Membership in the majority party, PDP, conferred advantages, primarily in employment. On occasion police arbitrarily arrested opposition leaders or opposing voices within the PDP.

The political parties themselves stand for little, and the substance of politics in Nigeria is nothing more than the scheming of one set of political kingpins to unseat the others. Nigerian political parties are largely organized around support for one central Big Man, rather than an ideology. Prior to the 2007 elections, a coalition of opposition parties, including Buhari and former Vice President Atiku, came together and committed to running a single candidate to challenge the PDP for the Presidency. When neither of these two leaders was prepared to step aside for the other, however, the effort collapsed.

The weaknesses of the political parties reflect not just the legacies of the military era and the morphing of generals into politicians, but also result from the countrys political economy. In addition to presidential authoritarianism, the petroleum economy has generated structural forces which have undermined the formation of strong political parties necessary for mounting a democratic opposition. In the past, Nigerians have supported membership-based political parties, even when threatened with repression, and especially when strong regional governments were less dependent on petro-revenues. Today Nigerian political parties are empty shells, sprouting up every four years before elections, yet without roots in civil society, meaningful principled platforms, or specific policy agendas. Parties are funded by wealthy oligarchs who privately determine access to political office without even the pretense of primaries or popular legitimacy.

Political actors who circulate within the political parties sponsored by the oligarchy claim to represent regional, ethnic, and religious groups. In practice, members of the political oligarchy switch political parties, form new ones, or change party affiliations according to shifting opportunities to gain access to petro-rents and political privileges regardless of professed political principles, or regional or ethnic affiliations. The outcome is a patrimonial, patronage system that tends toward unstable authoritarianism without accountability, transparency, or democratically organized political parties.

Unlike other developing democracies, the members of Nigerias large professional associationslaw, medicine, unions, accountants, academics, womenhave not provided leadership for opposition political parties. As a result, they have not yet been able to mount an effective oppositional movement. Civil society groups are numerous and active but they are fragmented, local, and not yet integrated into strong, cohesive national organizations. Hence, without effective political parties, their opposition and reform programs are often frustrated by the entrenched oligarchy. In short, there is a disconnect between an elite that struggles to maintain their relative hegemony and the bulk of the population who find themselves disenfranchised by the informal patterns of patrimonial power that characterize public decision making in Nigeria.

During the speedy Abubakar transition in 1998-1999, the oligarchs struck a number of bargains among themselves to form political parties diverse enough to meet the multiethnic demands of the electoral commission (INEC): they had to win 5 percent of the local government seats in 24 of the nations 36 states. The three parties that met these conditions, the PDP, All Peoples Party (APP) (later All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP), and the Alliance for Democracy (AD), being nothing more than alliances of convenience, imploded shortly after taking power in 1999.

There were 55 registered political parties in 2011. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has remained the leading political party in Nigeria with a majority of the state governors and members of the National Assembly and state assemblies. The partys majority diminished after 2011 general elections. This is due mainly to dissatisfaction with the partys nomination process. In Gubernatorial elections, 23 of the 36 state Governors in Nigeria are PDP representatives. The ruling PDP lost many state gubernatorial slots in the south-west zone mainly due to the absence of internal party democracy candidates were forced on party members and in some cases party primaries were either not held or were manipulated by party officials.

Only six out of the countrys 55 political parties are represented in the Senate and/or House of Representatives. Nigerian political parties get funding mainly from their members, and the countrys Electoral Act establishes how much individuals or organizations can contribute to a political party. Action Congress of Nigeria [ACN] with a south-west dominance, and which had only a governor in Lagos state between 2003 to 2007 got additional 6 state governors elected in the 2011 gubernatorial elections. ACN emerged from the merger of former Action Congress (AC) and other smaller political parties at part of the oppositions strategy for 2011 general election.

Accord Party ACC Mohammad Lawal MALADO
Action Congress of Nigeria ACN Adebisi Bamidele AKANDE
All Nigeria Peoples Party ANPP Ogbonnaya C. ONU
All Progressives Grand Alliance APGA Victor C. UMEH
Congress for Progressive Change CPC Tony MOMOH
Democratic Peoples Party DPP Jeremiah USENI
Labor Party Umar MUSTAPHA
Peoples Democratic Party PDP Bamanga TUKUR

After the 2011 general elections, ACN emerged as the leading opposition party, overtaking the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), which had 9 governors and over 100 members in the national assembly between 1999 and 2003. ANPPs fortunes dwindled due to internal party leadership crisis both at the national and state levels of the party. Currently, ANPP has only 3 state governors and about two dozen members of the national assembly.

On 31 July 2013 the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) approved the application by three political parties the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) to merge into one, to be known as the All Progressives Congress. On considering the application, the Commission found that the applicant-parties have met all statutory requirements for the merger, and has accordingly granted their request. Consequently, the Commission has approved the withdrawal of the individual certificates of the applicant-parties, and the issuance of a single certificate to the All Progressives Congress. According to press reports, of the 19 states across the North, no fewer than ten governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party had served notice of their intention to leave the party ahead of the 2015 election. The five governors of the northern states of Sokoto, Niger, Adamawa, Kano and Jigawa, were said to be among those ready to dump the party.

Five of Nigeria's powerful state governors defected to the APC from the ruling party in late 2013, including those from voter-heavy states like Kano and Rivers. Also, 37 members of the lower house of the National Assembly switched from the PDP to APC, taking away the PDP's majority. APC politicians and analysts said that they expected to see as many as seven more governors, as well as members of the National Assembly's upper house, the Senate, defect to the APC in early 2014. Dissatisfaction with President Goodluck Jonathan - especially with his efforts fighting corruption and his violation of an unwritten PDP rule to trade off the presidency between northerners and southerners - was a key driver of the defections.

By early 2014 the All Progressive Congress, has won over many prominent leaders. Many prominent leaders, including five state governors and 37 members of the House of Representatives, had abandoned the ruling Peoples Democratic Party [PDP]. Analysts said if the APC could agree on a leader, 2015 could be the first truly contested election in Nigerian history. But the APC was accused of being an Islamic party. The accusation was meant to play into tensions between the mostly-Muslim north and the mostly-Christian south.

Underlying previous failures to form a strong opposition party is the very nature of Nigerian politics, which is largely designed to control the distribution of wealth and power among rival godfather networks, a role dominated in all but a few areas of the country by the PDP. For a single new opposition party to coalesce would require not only for a number of "big men" to subsume their own ambitions under one leader, but also for them to believe they have a serious chance to supplant the PDP at the top of the political pyramid, a very tall order indeed. In Nigeria, there are few if any rewards for coming in second.

The following are the registered political parties in Nigeria
as provided by the Independent Electoral Commission.
Accord A
Action Congress of Nigeria ACN
Action Alliance AA
Action Party of Nigeria APN
Advanced Congress Of Democrats ACD
African Democratic Congress ADC
African Liberation Party ALP
African Political System APS
African Renaissance Party ARP
All Nigeria Peoples Party ANPP
All Progressives Grand Alliance APGA
Alliance For Democracy AD
Allied Congress Party of Nigeria ACPN
Better Nigeria Progressive Party BNPP
Change Advocacy Party CAP
Citizens Popular Party CPP
Community Party of Nigeria CPN
Congress for Democratic Change CDC
Congress for Progressive Change CPC
Democratic Front for Peoples Federation DFPF
Democratic Peoples Alliance DPA
Democratic Peoples Party DPP
Freedom Party of Nigeria FPN
Fresh Democratic Party FRESH
Hope Democratic Party HDP
Justice Party JP
Kowa Party KP
Labour Party LP
Liberal Democratic Party of Nigeria LDPN
Mega Progressive Peoples Party MPPP
Movement for Democracy and Justice MDJ
Movement for the Restoration and Defence of Democracy MRDD
National Conscience Party NCP
National Democratic Party NDP
National Majority Demoratic Party NMDP
National Movement of Progressive Party NMPP
National Reformation Party NRP
National Solidarity Democratic Party NSDP
National Transformation Party NTP
New Democrats ND
New Nigeria Peoples Party NNPP
Nigeria Advance Party NAP
People For Democratic Change PDC

Peoples Democratic Party

Peoples Mandate Party PMP
Peoples Party of Nigeria PPN
Peoples Progressive Party PPP
Peoples Redemption Party PRP
Peoples Salvation Party PSP
Progressive Action Congress PAC
Progressive Peoples Alliance PPA
Republican Party of Nigeria RPN
Social Democratic Mega Party SDMP
United Democratic Party UDP
United National Party for Development UNPD
United Nigeria Peoples Party UNPP

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