Rift opens in Nigeria's ruling party as elections loom

2018-07-05 15:44
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Lawmakers in Nigeria's ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) have formed a breakaway group in what is expected to be a prelude to defections as elections approach next year.

President Muhammadu Buhari's former ally, Buba Galadima, on Wednesday announced the creation of a group called the Reformed All Progressives Congress (rAPC).

The group claims to gather disaffected APC members from across the country, with representation at local government and state level as well as in parliament.

Galadima accused the former military ruler and his government of failing to deliver on key pledges to improve security and tackle corruption.

Buhari's stewardship of Africa's most populous nation has been "a monumental disaster" and the government shown itself to be "rudderless, inept and incompetent", he added.

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"It has rather imposed dictatorship, impunity, abuse of power, complete abdication of constitutional and statutory responsibilities, infidelity to the rule of law and constitutionalism," he told reporters in Abuja.

The announcement comes after months of infighting in the APC, with battle lines increasingly drawn behind Buhari on one side and the two parliamentary speakers on the other.

Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara both switched sides from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) before the 2015 election that brought Buhari to power.

But they are still viewed with suspicion by APC leaders.

Party grandees have tried to mend fences with the disgruntled lawmakers but talks broke down.

The rAPC is made up of APC members who failed to secure positions in the recent party congress as well as some state governors. Saraki and Dogara have made no public announcement.

Under Nigerian law, lawmakers' seats have to be declared vacant if they defect to another party but not if they align themselves to an internal faction.

New APC chairperson Adams Oshiomole has opened fresh talks with Saraki and his supporters, appealing for them to remain with the party.

The development recalls a similar move in the PDP of former president Goodluck Jonathan before the last election in 2015, which led to mass defections to the APC.

It will do little to ease the pressure on Buhari, who is seeking a second, four-year term of office in February next year.

Parliament has already issued a thinly veiled threat of impeachment unless he tackles growing violence that has left nearly 2 000 people dead across the country since January.

Read more on:    muhammadu buhari  |  buba galadima  |  nigeria  |  west africa
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