Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Nigeria’s Ruling Party Threatens Crackdown on Dissidents

 By Maram Mazen and Yinka Ibukun
Bloomberg, September 4, 2013

Nigeria's ruling People’s Democratic Party threatened to punish members who have created a rival leadership, causing its biggest internal crisis since it came to power 14 years ago.

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar led seven out of 23 governors elected under the PDP out of a party convention on Aug. 31. The group declared afterward they were the New PDP and appointed a different leadership.

“The People’s Democratic Party has no faction and there is neither room nor reason for such a claim under any guise,” Chairman Bamanga Tukur said today in an e-mailed statement. Any unelected person who “goes ahead to arrogate such to himself will be made to face the full wrath of the law.”
The party has won all general elections since Africa’s top oil producer ended more than 15 years of military rule in 1999. President Goodluck Jonathan, a southern Christian, is facing a mounting challenge from northern Muslims who accuse him of breaching an unwritten rule to rotate power between the two regions when he ran in 2011 elections.

Jonathan had succeeded Umaru Yar’Adua, a northern Muslim, who died in office in 2010. He hasn’t ruled out running for another term when his current four-year tenure ends in 2015, prompting efforts to take control of the party by rival interest groups.

A majority of the seven state governors and 79 lawmakers who have expressed support for the dissident faction is from Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north. Southern Nigeria has a predominantly Christian population.

Ruling party lawmakers “who identify with these enemies of the oneness and greatness of our party shall have their seats declared vacant as required by law.” Tukur said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Maram Mazen in Abuja at mmazen@bloomberg.net; Yinka Ibukun in Lagos at yibukun@bloomberg.net
 
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dulue Mbachu at dmbachu@bloomberg.net
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