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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book 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.
Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festivali
X
April 24, 2015 4:09 AM
Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Keeping Washington Airspace Safe Is Tall Order

Being the home of all three branches of the U.S. federal government makes Washington, D.C. the prime target for those who want to make their messages and ideas heard. Unfortunately, many of them choose to deliver them in unorthodox ways, including from the air, as a recent incident clearly showed involving a gyrocopter landing on the Capitol’s West Lawn. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.

VOA Blogs