Nigeria: APC Presidential Party faces multiple defections

In Nigeria, a week after the defection of 14 senators and 37 House of Reps of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Bukola Saraki, president of the Senate and third strongman of the country, announces in turn that he joined the opposition. At six months of the presidential election, the party of the head of state Muhammadu Buhari faces an open crisis.

Back to square one. This week, several leaders joined the PDP opposition party, most of whom had left shortly before the 2015 elections.

This is the case of Bukola Saraki, after maintaining doubt about his intentions, the former Kwara State Governor and current Senate president finally resigned on Tuesday, 31 July, saying the climate was no longer conducive to dialogue within the APC.

In the wake, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, a close associate of Bukola Saraki and APC spokesman, also announced his departure, denouncing a system gnawed by “propaganda”. Another major defection is that of the governor of the state of Sokoto (North), who believes that “the party has turned into a sanctuary for the corrupt and a machine to rig and violate democracy.”

“I doubt that the government is suffering from the departure of Bukola Saraki, since he behaves for a long time as a member of the opposition,” Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information relativizes.

There are still a few weeks left to weld the ranks of this party, which will hold its Congress between September and October.

“The president of the Senate is the third person in the country. Today he leaves the party in power. This will inevitably have an impact. These defections reveal that President Muhammadu Buhari failed to maintain the unity of his party. This is a constant and he has not been able to convince his main supporters of the benefit they can derive from staying in the party and continuing to support it.”

“He has not been able to show them that it is possible to represent them all and to reflect their interests. And that’s what is happening today with these massive departures of party activists. Moreover, it would not be surprising to see other announcements of this type these days and to see PDP activists leave their party to join the APC,” said Clement Nwankwo, Director of the Abuja Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre.

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