DON'T MISS : Talking Africa Podcast - Gates Foundation CEO: 'Stop stockpiling & deploy vaccines to Africa to avoid costly new variants'

Can Nigeria’s ruling party survive after Buhari?

By Akin Irede
Posted on Saturday, 8 January 2022 15:16

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari is seen at the opening of the 33rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and the Government of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, February 9, 2020. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri/File Photo

Less than seven years after making history as the first opposition party to win a presidential election in Nigeria, the ruling APC party of Africa's most populous nation faces an existential challenge as President Muhammadu Buhari wraps up his final term in office.
A high-stakes meeting of Nigeria's governors on Sunday 9 January will be a chance to rescue it.

Buhari has always shown confidence in his composure. The retired general has been a central player in Nigeria’s chequered political history, having fought in the civil war, served as oil minister and military governor in the 1970s. In December 1983, he overthrew a democratically elected president and ruled Africa’s most populous nation with an iron fist for 20 months before he was also ousted.

But for the first time, during a recent interview with state broadcaster NTA, he showed a vulnerable side which many Nigerians had not seen since he assumed power nearly seven years ago. He warned that if the leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) cannot settle their differences amicably and quickly pick a date for the party’s convention, it could lose power.

“If the party (APC) cannot agree, then the opposition will take over,” he said.

Buhari further recalled how the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lost power in 2015 mainly because the PDP underestimated the strength of the opposition. Advising the governors on the need to allow internal democracy to thrive in the states, Buhari added, “The governors should allow the system to work. I am not a kingmaker. I have tried to get my position known that party leadership needs a bottom to top approach.”