In a major turning point for Nigeria the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was roundly defeated in recent elections. The All Progressive Congress’ (APC) General Muhammadu Buhari defeated former PDP President Goodluck Jonathan by about 2.6 million votes. Despite this significant defeat the APC will still lack the two-thirds majority needed for key decisions.
The outcome reflects a renewed confidence among some layers to punish incumbents at the polls. Yet with no major party representing the interests of the working and poor masses, millions more abstained from the elections entirely.
While primarily these elections represent a shift of power from one section of the ruling class to another, for many Nigerians the news of the much-hated government’s defeat was met with jubilation.
Former President Jonathan’s anti-poor policies had already provoked a historic general strike movement when his government suddenly hiked the price of fuel and ended fuel subsidy 8 months into his last term.
With falling oil prices impacting revenue, the APC will govern in the interest of wealthy elites meaning an austerity approach is likely. This may provoke further mass movements and trigger increased political instability. The task of building a mass working class political alternative is more pressing than ever.
By Ben Convey