Nigeria's ruling party formally splits into 2 factions
New faction reportedly has backing of parliament chiefs, governors
By Rafiu Ajakaye
Nigeria's ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) officially split into two factions on Wednesday after dissenters announced a breakaway from President Muhammadu Buhari’s party.
Buba Galadima, a former Buhari ally and prominent APC official, told a news briefing in the capital Abuja that the party had derailed from democratic norms and that government has failed to deliver on campaign promises.
“The APC government has been a monumental disaster, even worse than the government it replaced. The political party that was a vehicle for enthroning the government was rendered powerless by manipulations and complete lack of due process in its operations,” Galadima said.
“The last straw were the congresses and convention of the APC held recently. The congresses were intensely disputed as they were conducted with impunity, total disregard for due process, disregard for the party constitution and naked display of power and practices that have no place in a party we all worked the very hard to put in place.”
The briefing was attended by other top APC leaders, with Galadima announcing they would now be called the "reformed APC".
Analysts say formation of the "Reformed APC" serves as a smokescreen to allow for mass defections of top APC parliamentarians and governors who are believed to be behind the new faction -- akin to how the country's former ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) was balkanized in 2013 ahead of the 2015 ballot which it lost.
Nigeria's electoral law imposes stringent conditions for elected officials to quit the platform on which they were elected -- the toughest of which is that the affected party must be officially pronounced to be in crisis by the court.
Mass defections are likely in the coming days, although it is early to predict how far the defections will affect the chances of Buhari whose government is bogged down by killings in central Nigeria as a result of a crisis pitting herders against farmers.