Ethnic or religious groups are not guaranteed equal participation at the federal level of government, and consequently many civil society groups consider the principle of equal participation ineffective.?
29 parties are registered with the National Electoral Commission.? The People's Democratic Party, a conservative party with a neo-liberal stance and a broad power base, won every presidential election between 1999 and 2011. The All Progressives Congress, which professes to be a social democratic party, was formed on 6 February 2013 as an alliance of four regionally based opposition parties: the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Congress for Progressive Change, the All Nigeria Peoples Party, and the All Progressives Grand Alliance. The APC won in the 2015 elections.?
Boko Haram (translated as "Western education is forbidden")
The immediate objective of this radical Islamist group (official name: People of Sunnah for Preaching and Jihad) is to establish strict Sharia law in northern Nigeria, where the majority of the population is Muslim. Although the twelve northern states have implemented Sharia governance, Boko Haram believes it is too lenient and violates Islam.? Boko Haram is responsible for violent attacks in the country that have killed thousands of people since 2008. Boko Haram’s insurgency in the northeast began in 2008 but started gaining momentum in 2013, as BH seized territory and occupied towns and villages. The group is thought to hide in the Lake Chad region and the Sambisa Forest in Borno state and is also active in Cameroon, Chad and Niger. In March 2015, part of BH pledged alliance with the Islamic State (IS) and it was renamed to Islamic State's West Africa Province (ISWAP). In 2015, the military regained territory from BH, but the group has retained strongholds in hard-to-access areas. Since then it has changed tactics, avoiding direct conflict, sporadically attacking areas it had not previously targeted and reverting to village raids, abductions, bombings, and suicide attacks, increasingly targeting civilians.?
Multinational Joint Task Force (MJTF)
The Multinational Joint Task Force (MJTF) is an African Union authorised mission against BH, consisting of 8,700 military and civilian personnel including contingents from Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria. The scope and remit of the regional force remains unclear.?
Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN)
Commonly known as “the Shi’a”, the IMN seeks to establish an Islamic state through an Iranian-style revolution. It has reportedly mobilised more than one million people for Shi’a religious events and 50,000 people for political rallies.?On 12 December, Nigerian troops carried out an operation against the IMN in Kaduna state, reportedly killing at least 300 members and arresting its leader Ibrahim Zakzaky, claiming the IMN had attempted to assassinate the army chief of staff; the IMN denies the charges.?
Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)
IPOB is a secessionist movement for the independence of the region of Biafra. It is led by Nnamdi Kanu, a United Kingdom-based political activist who has been detained by the Nigerian government since October 2015 during a visit to Lagos. His arrest sparked pro-Biafran rallies, which swept through Delta and Rivers states in December 2015. Demonstrators were forcefully dispersed and arrested by police. There are reports of extrajudicial killings of members of IPOB by the Nigerian security forces.?