Over and again, Nigeria’s ruling party becomes a minority months ahead of general elections

Months ahead of the general elections, Nigerian lawmakers are instigating moves that could break off President Buhari’s second term ambition. Earlier today,  fifteen Nigerian senators quit the ruling All Progressives Congress, immediately making it a minority in parliament’s upper chamber. Also, 32 lawmakers in the lower arm of the chamber have defected to People’s Democratic Party and 4 others to African Democratic Congress, a political party recently flaunted by Ex President Olusegun Obasanjo.

The defections may make it harder for Buhari to push through his legislative agenda for the remainder of his first term, and follows the disclosure by a faction of Buhari’s ruling APC party this month that it no longer backs his government

The President and his All Progressives Congress party have until now been seen as in a stronger position to win presidential and parliamentary elections in February but his opponents are now picking up momentum before party primaries in August, amid mounting discontent at his style of government and handling of widespread violence across the country. Senate President Bukola Saraki told other senators that their colleagues have have defected, leaving Buhari with a minority in the 109-seat upper house chamber. Earlier this month, Saraki was cleared at the Supreme Court of corruption charges, which he insists were politically motivated.

The senators have called the President’s stewardship of Nigeria in the last three years “a monumental disaster

On Monday, 23 July, the police summoned him in person to answer claims about his link to a gang that conducted a violent armed robbery in April. The senate president called the invitation a “ploy” to stop the recent  mass defection, claiming the police were being used by the executive to conduct a political “witch hunt”. On Tuesday morning, police surrounded his house in Abuja but he managed to make it to parliament after sending a decoy to the station. The Nigeria Police force said in a statement issued to the press that they did not “besiege” his house.

Richard Ogundiya

Journalist & Techpreneur. Africa, communications and data.

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