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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid