World Bulletin / News Desk
Nigeria's ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) on Tuesday regained a clear majority in the House of Representatives after five lawmakers announced their defection from the opposition All Progressive Congress (APC).
House Speaker Aminu Tambuwal listed the APC defectors as Ladan Shehu Bichi, Abdulsalam Adamu, Sani Umar Dangaladima, Shehu Gusau and Umar Bature – all of whom hail from the country's northwest.
Bucking the trend, MP Isa Mohamed Bashiru left the ruling party for the APC, Tambuwal added.
The defections bring the tally in parliament's lower house to 178 MPs for the ruling party and 168 for the opposition.
With the defectors coming mainly from the country's northwestern region, which boasts the largest voting population, the defections may prompt the APC to cut short its celebrations of recent political victories.
Having won over three of the region's powerful governors – from the Kano, Sokoto and Zamfara states – the APC had already begun writing the ruling PDP off from the region.
But the recent defection from the APC to the PDP of two political heavyweights – former governors Ibrahim Shekarau of Kano State and Attahiru Bafarawa – could prove fatal, as today's defections may yet show.
These three states combined boast a total voter population of at least 10 million.
The northwest has six states, the remaining three being Jigawa, Kebbi and Kaduna, which together can boast roughly eight million voters.
The second region in terms of voting strength is the six-state southwest, an APC stronghold.
Nigeria's general election is slated for February of next year, but preparations have already begun.
Opposition to President Goodluck Jonathan's rumored second-term ambitions had split the ruling party, leading to the recent spate of defections – which had earlier cost the party its parliamentary majority.
It was the first time the party lost parliament to the opposition since 1999, when Nigeria returned to democracy after three decades of military dictatorship.Last Mod: 12 Şubat 2014, 10:29