Why political party ‘structure’ matters in Nigeria
Nigerian Voters during a general election

On Sunday, October 9th, in tiny Lesotho, the Basotho—what people from Lesotho are called—voted to give the Revolution For Prosperity (RFP) a stunning victory at the polls.

Led by diamond magnate Sam Matekane and only formed in March this year, the RFP went from a standing start to a majority of 56 out of 120 seats in Lesotho’s parliament.

This fell only five seats short of an outright majority.

 

Key takeaways:

  1. Despite the Labour Party’s good start to the campaign cycle, the APC and PDP remain formidable and will be tough to beat. 

  2. Both parties attained this dominance through a self-reinforcing cycle of accumulating resources and extending reach across the country.

  3. Declining voter turnout suggests this is a good time to challenge Nigeria’s political duopoly.

 

The RFP has come to power in Lesotho at a time of political gridlock and instability, which has hampered the ability of the ruling All Basotho Congress (ABC) to govern effectively. Indeed, one of its leaders—Tom Thabane— had to step down in 2020 after being accused of killing his wife. Now, the wait is on to see if Matekane and his party can come to grips with governance and deliver on the promises made to their fellow citizens.

In Nigeria, supporters of Peter Obi—the two-time governor of Anambra State—will be praying for a similarly stunning result in the February 2023 poll. Just like the RFP, which was up against entrenched opponents like the ABC and the Democratic Congress (DC), the Labour Party, which Obi joined in late May, is up against the ruling APC and the PDP.

Early signs are encouraging for the Labour Party. Two polls—one by ANAP conducted by NOI Polls and another by Bloomberg conducted by Premise Data—show Peter Obi ahead of other candidates.

 

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Joachim MacEbong

Joachim MacEbong

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