People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Nigerian political party founded in August 1998 by members of numerous groups and organizations, including the groups known as G-18 and G-34. The party, which has a broad political base, supports economic deregulation, human rights, and greater funding for health care and education, among other goals.
Earlier in 1998, the
G-18 and G-34 had openly opposed the plans of the military leader at the time,
Gen. Sani Abacha, to continue his rule. Following Abacha’s death in June 1998,
the government announced that democratic elections would be held the following
year, ending 16 years of military rule. In preparation for the election,
political parties were formed, including the PDP. Alex Ekwueme, a former vice
president of the country, was the first party chairman, and Jerry Gana was the
first party secretary.
The party had a broad
membership drawn from traditional chiefs, academics, and businessmen and proved
especially popular with the army, as some 100 retired senior officers joined,
including Olusegun Obasanjo, a former military leader of Nigeria (1976–79) who
joined the party soon after its inception. Under his guidance the PDP quickly
became the country’s dominant party.
In the 1999 elections
the PDP won a majority of seats in the legislature and Obasanjo was elected
president. In the 2003 elections the party maintained a legislative majority
and Obasanjo was reelected president. The PDP had an unofficial policy of
rotating the presidency between candidates from the predominantly Christian
south and the predominantly Muslim north.
In 2007 the party’s
candidate was Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, a Muslim and the governor of the northern
state of Katsina. The vice presidential candidate was Goodluck Jonathan, a
Christian and the governor of the southern state of Bayelsa. Yar’Adua was
declared the winner of the 2007 presidential election, although international
observers strongly condemned the election as being marred by voting
irregularities and fraud.
In 2010 power shifted
unexpectedly to Jonathan, who assumed the role of acting president in February
after Yar’Adua fell ill; he was sworn in to the presidency following Yar’Adua’s
death in May. Jonathan’s announcement in September about his intention to run
in the 2011 presidential election generated much controversy leading into the
PDP’s presidential primaries, held in January 2011.
overwhelming victory over his closest challenger, northerner and former vice
president Atiku Abubakar, showed that Jonathan had considerable support, even
in several of the northern states and in spite of the fact that his candidacy
would be a deviation from the party’s unofficial rotation policy. Jonathan was
victorious in the country’s 2011 presidential election, which was deemed
largely free and fair by international observers.
As the 2015 elections grew
closer, the longtime ruling party (PDP) found itself in a weaker position:
infighting had resulted in several members leaving the party; Jonathan’s administration
was under fire for not doing enough to combat corruption or to eliminate the
threat from the deadly Islamic insurgency led by Boko Haram in the northeastern
parts of the country; and many Nigerians felt that general living conditions
had not improved.
Furthermore, in 2013 much of
the perennially fragmented opposition had united to form one party, the All
Progressives Congress (APC), and the APC chose a strong candidate, former
military head of state Muhammadu Buhari, to face Jonathan in the 2015
presidential election. 37 members of the House of
Representatives who were formerly under the umbrella of the Peoples’ Democratic
Party defected to the All Progressives
Congress (APC) The lawmakers said
that they are joining the APC due to “division and factionalisation” within the
Decampees also said that
their defection to the APC is in obedience to section 68, subsection 1G of the
The Nigerian constitution
stipulates that a lawmaker can only defect to another party without losing his
seat if there is adequate proof that the political party he is moving from is
in crisis that must have divided the party and te was actually in crisis.
The defection from the PDP began after some
aggrieved PDP governors decided to join the opposition, APC, in November. Also In
2014 11 senators defected from PDP to te All Progress Congress (APC)
Jonathan, signaling an end to the PDP’s grip on the presidency, which it had
held since 1999. The party also lost its majority in the Senate and the House
of Representatives to the APC in the legislative elections.
From1998 to date, PDP
had 12 chairmen and of all the leaders the party produced, only few had
a glorious exit; most
of them were forced out of office in controversial circumstances.
In the meantime, the
party is hit by a gale of defections following the outcome of the December 9,
2017 national convention. There is discontent, anxiety and loss of confidence
as some chieftains are still in court challenging the party. Also, some of the
PDP stakeholders were arrested, detained and arraigned when President
Muhammadu Buhari took over on May 29, 2015 over alleged corrupt practices
perpetrated during the party’s 16-year reign.
In conclusion, see the problems in PDP
Lack of internal democracy
Impunity and imposition
Inability to reconcile aggrieved members of
The vision of the party is lost
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