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Nigeria Briefing Paper

Nigeria briefing paper copyright 2005 by college

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Unformatted text preview: identities of military leaders delineated in the timeline and historical overview sections demonstrates that these considerations have been politically salient. Nigeria Briefing Paper Copyright © 2005 by College Board. All rights reserved. Available at apcentral.collegeboard.com. 21 Parties The first political parties in Nigeria were, for the most part, ethnically based. Little attempt was made to reach out beyond the ethnic power base of these political parties—thus ethnicizing and regionalizing the national political process, turning politics into a zero-sum game of winners and losers. Babangida’s forced two-party system and the proliferation of subethnic states since independence were unsuccessful attempts to address this reality. There are currently two major parties in Nigeria: the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP). A third party, the Alliance for Democracy (AD), did not have its own candidate for the presidential elections in 2003, but it did receive over 9 percent of the total votes cast for its House of Representatives and Senatorial candidates. Elections The elections that preceded each of the four republics were often contested by the losers and embraced by the victors, who quickly sought to legitimize their claim to political leadership. The annulment of the 1993 presidential elections was the clearest example of this process, with the assumed victor Mashood Abiola eventually detained for contesting this annulment. The many military officers who assumed political leadership in Nigeria have consistently bypassed the electoral process, instead relying on the barrel of the gun for political promotion. During the 1999 and 2003 presidential elections, PDP presidential candidate Olesugen Obasanjo received over 60 percent of the popular vote. ANPP’s Muhamad Buhari received 32 percent of the votes cast in the 2003 elections. Five other parties had candidates for the presidency in 2003, but only one received over 3 percent of the votes cast, with the remaining three garnering less than 1 percent. While Nigeria Briefing Paper Copyright © 2005 by College Board. All rights reserved. Available at apcentral.collegeboard.com. 22 opposition leaders have contested the legitimacy of both contests due to political violence and alleged fraud at the polls, Obasanjo has ruled since 1999, and he is expected to complete his second and final term in office in 2007. ANPP is currently the main opposition party in the country, with 95 of 360 seats in the House of Representatives and 28 of 109 seats in the Senate. In 2003, the ruling PDP’s main base of support was in predominantly Christian southern states. In the 1999 elections, the ruling party received some support in Muslim areas in the north, but this support was less significant during the 2003 presidential contest. In order to assure that there is some national character to presidential elections, the constitution requires candidates to have at least 25 percent of the votes from twothirds of the states to win the first round of elect...
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