to due process. Indeed, he has succeeded, along with his predecessor, in transforming Nigeria into a de facto one party state in which the electoral process is now so compromised that anyone who hopes to hold office cannot afford to allow elections to proceed unimped- ed.
Today, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) domi- nates Nigerian politics in a way in which no other party has in the past. Even under the First Republic— the only other period in Nigeria’s history when civil- ians held power for a comparable length of time— the elected representatives were divided far more equita- bly between the various parties. A majority were mem- bers of the Northern People’s Congress (NPC). But a large minority belonged to the Action Group (AG), the National Convention of Nigerian Citizens (NCNC), the Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP), and the United Progressive Grand Alliance (UPGA). Now though, political life at the federal, state and local lev- els is dominated by the PDP. In addition to both the president and vice-president, 28 of the country’s 36 state governors are PDP men, as are most members of the various state assemblies and local government ar- eas.
This dominance would be less worrying, although still far from ideal, if PDP membership was not now a vital prerequisite for candidates seeking public office and especially high office. Indeed, the PDP exploits its large size to make sure, by both fair means and foul, that its people “win.” For example, the violence that gripped the city of Jos, in November 2008 was initially triggered by the PDP’s rigging of the ballot in a local election to ensure that its candidate (a Christian) won in an exclusively Muslim ward.40 Time and again over the past decade, in fact, it has rigged national, state and