Nigeria August 2018


Nigeria Monthly Briefing August 2018



Nigeria 22 August 2018

Opposition to President Muhammadu Buhari (2015-present) gathers pace as members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party defect in high numbers.


Opposition to Buhari gathers pace as APC members defect in droves

President Muhammadu Buhari’s (2015-present) government no longer has a working majority in either the Senate or the House of Representatives. Following the formation of the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) in opposition to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) government on 9 July, the APC’s position is increasingly weakened (see ARC Briefing Nigeria July 2018). The ever-strengthening coalition against Buhari’s APC increasingly threatens the APC’s chances of re-election in February 2019.1

Kwara State and Benue State governors Abdulfatah Ahmed and Samuel Ortom are among the defectors, joining the likes of Senate President Bukola Saraki at the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) from the APC.1 In so doing, they are capitalising on the government’s failure to mitigate the continuing deadly conflict in the country’s ‘middle belt’ where their states are situated by hopping across the bench to join the PDP.2

Particularly damaging developments are the defections of prominent party members in Buhari’s northern stronghold.3 These include Sokoto State governor Aminu Tambuwal and former governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso.4 Although the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency has waned under Buhari’s leadership in the north-east, the continuation of attacks and the dire humanitarian situation in the region represent a failed election promise and a loss in credibility for Buhari (see ARC Briefing Nigeria July 2018).5 Kano State alone provided 1.9 million of Buhari’s roughly 15 million presidential votes in 2015. The defection of influential figures in Kano such as Kwankwaso indicate that Buhari’s vote share in the state will decrease in 2019.6 Coupled with the opposition PDP’s intention to field a northern presidential candidate in opposition to Buhari, this will provide further opposition in the region that the president depended upon to gain election to office in 2015.7 It is doubtful whether Buhari will win widespread support across the thirteen ‘vote-rich’ northern states in the upcoming presidential election.8

These defections damage the APC’s legitimacy. The government’s grasp on power looked even more tenuous when on 7 August Lawal Musa Daura, the then-director of the Nigerian State Security Service and cousin of President Buhari, ordered his officials to blockade the National Assembly to prohibit politicians from meeting.9 Vice president Yemi Osinbajo, in charge during Buhari’s visit to London (United Kingdom) for two weeks, immediately dismissed Daura and ordered the removal of his officials, deeming Daura’s actions “unconstitutional”.10

Battling for supremacy in the lead up to the elections – now only six months away – both opposition and government seek to impeach key figures. The government plans to impeach Saraki after listing several corruption allegations against him.11 The blockade of the National Assembly was allegedly put in place to bar PDP lawmakers from entering parliament, allowing a two-thirds majority (comprising APC members) in the Senate to move to impeach Saraki.12 The PDP, in turn, is determined to impeach Buhari. The PDP believes it now has the two-thirds majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives required to impeach the president in the case of ‘gross misconduct’ and after lengthy and impartial investigations.13

The hotly contested battle for political supremacy will make the run-up to primary elections in September and October a tense affair and the outcome of next February’s vote more uncertain than previously thought.14 Against this background, investors can expect a decrease in investment to Nigerian markets over the coming months.


24-25 Sep 2018 (Nigeria) Central Bank of Nigeria Monetary Policy Committee meeting

19-20 Nov 2018 (Nigeria) Central Bank of Nigeria Monetary Policy Committee meeting

7 Oct 2018 (Nigeria)Vanguard. Deadline for parties to select candidate for 2019 general election;

18 Nov 2018 (Nigeria)Vanguard. Campaigning to begin for presidential and National Assembly elections;

1 Dec 2018 (Nigeria)Vanguard. Campaigning to begin for governorships and state assembly elections;

16 Feb 2019 (Nigeria)Vanguard. Voting in presidential and National Assembly elections;

2 Mar 2019 (Nigeria) Vanguard. Voting in governorships and state assembly elections;


20 Aug 2018 Borno State (Nigeria)Al Jazeera. Terror group Boko Haram kills 19 villagers in Malari village;

20 Aug 2018 Abuja (Nigeria)Reuters. President Muhammadu Buhari returns to Nigeria after a two-week absence in the United Kingdom (UK);

15 Aug 2018 Lagos (Nigeria)ITWeb Africa. MTN Nigeria secures a $556m naira-denominated loan from 12 Nigerian banks;

10 Aug 2018 Abuja (Nigeria)africanews. The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) asks the senate president Bukola Saraki to resign or face impeachment after Saraki quits the APC;

8 Aug 2018 Abuja (Nigeria)News24. Senate president Bukola Saraki calls for a probe into security service takeover of parliament;

7 Aug 2018 Abuja (Nigeria)CNN. Acting President Yemi Osinbajo fires intelligence chief, Lawal Musa Daura, after armed men block opposition lawmakers from the parliament buildings;

31 Jul 2018 Lagos (Nigeria)Reuters. President of the senate, Bukola Saraki, rejoins opposition People’s Democratic Party after leaving the ruling All Progressives Congress;

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1. [Africa Confidential, 10 Aug 2018.]

2. [Africa Confidential, 10 Aug 2018.]

3. [Africa Confidential, 10 Aug 2018.]

4. [Africa Confidential, 10 Aug 2018.]

5. [Business Day, 6 Aug 2018.]

6. [Africa Confidential, 10 Aug 2018.]

7. [Business Day, 6 Aug 2018.]

8. [Business Day, 6 Aug 2018.]

9. [Business Day, 6 Aug 2018.]

10. [Business Day, 6 Aug 2018.]

11. [Business Day, 6 Aug 2018.]

12. [Africa Confidential, 10 Aug 2018.]

13. [Africa Confidential, 10 Aug 2018.]

14. [Vanguard, 21 Aug 2018.]

15. [Reuters, 8 Aug 2018.]

16. [Africa Confidential, 10 Aug 2018 and]

17. [Africa Confidential, 10 Aug 2018.]