News / Africa

Acting President Goodluck Jonathan Succeeds Umaru Yar’Adua in Nigeria

Multimedia

Audio

For many Nigerians, Thursday’s swearing-in ceremonies for President Goodluck Jonathan restored some normalcy to what has been a highly erratic chapter in their struggle to perpetuate democratic rule.  From the capital Abuja, human rights attorney Emmanuel Ogebe says Mr. Jonathan must overcome serious hurdles to secure his own candidacy for next year’s Nigeria presidential campaign.

President Yar'Adua (C), flanked by then-Vice President Goodluck Jonathan (R), shakes hands with Government Ekpemupolo (L), commander of rebel group MEND, during their meeting in Abuja on 09 October 2009.
President Yar'Adua (C), flanked by then-Vice President Goodluck Jonathan (R), shakes hands with Government Ekpemupolo (L), commander of rebel group MEND, during their meeting in Abuja on 09 October 2009.

“The first clear problem is who will be his vice president, and the constitution requires that he nominate a candidate who will be confirmed by the Senate – the National Assembly.  The problem is like his cabinet, he might be held hostage by the governors, by the ruling party, or many other interests because he has to balance to pick a Muslim from the north,” said Ogebe.

President Umaru Yar’Adua’s lengthy medical decline may have helped prepare the nation for a relatively smooth transition without any street violence during yesterday’s funeral and inaugural ceremonies.  But, it is not clear how long Mr. Jonathan, a southerner from the Niger Delta, will be able to assert party discipline within the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Traditionally, the PDP has run on a consensus allowing power to alternate between northern leaders for two eight-year terms and then southern leaders.  A Goodluck Jonathan second-term presidency would break that pattern, much to the disappointment of several northern PDP stalwarts who had backed President Yar’Adua, a former northern governor of Nigeria’s Katsina state.  Emmanuel Ogebe says Mr. Jonathan has a 10 month timetable to line up his supporters and find a suitable second-in-command who will not undercut his own candidacy.

“He needs somebody who he can work with.  Now if you foist someone on him that will have conflicts with him, then you are going to have a real succession problem, especially if the new vice president is interested in running (for president) in 11 months’ time,” he pointed out.

In President Jonathan’s favor, a recent visit to the United States allowed him to conclude an important binational treaty with the Obama administration and, upon his return home, he secured the ouster of Independent Electoral Commission Chairman Maurice Iwu, another move toward democratization that was recommended by officials in Washington.

In addition, Ogebe says Nigerians have finally found relief after being frustrated during the past few months by Mr. Yar’Adua’s closest advisers and family members, who they felt were not sharing their concerns about the President’s incapacitation to serve.

“I think that the arrowhead for the cabal who were playing the game of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and cat-and-mouse with the Nigerian people has been dislodged.  There were some members of that gang who were in the cabinet and who were kicked out.  But, there were some who were not in the cabinet and who still continue to hold influence within the villa.  I think those people will have to pack their bags and leave, and I think that the president [Mr. Jonathan] will actually have a lot more breathing space to clean house and move forward,” he said.

58-year-old Umaru Yar’Adua is not the first Nigerian leader to die in office, but he is the first democratically elected president whose term was cut short by death.  Earlier departures included head of state General Murtala Mohammed, who enjoyed widespread popularity, but was assassinated in 1976, and military ruler General Sani Abacha, who died in office, reportedly of a heart attack at the age of 54 in 1998.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid