News / Africa

    Acting Nigerian President's Appointment Opens Field for 2011 Election

    Nigeria's new acting president and commander in chief Goodluck Jonathan is pictured as he takes office in Abuja, 10 Feb 2010
    Nigeria's new acting president and commander in chief Goodluck Jonathan is pictured as he takes office in Abuja, 10 Feb 2010

    The appointment of Vice President Goodluck Jonathan as Nigeria's acting leader opens the field for the ruling party's candidate for 2011. Lawmakers made the move more than 10 weeks after President Umaru Yar'Adua left for a hospital in Saudi Arabia.

    President Yar'Adua's prolonged medical absence has made it increasingly unlikely that he will run for re-election next year.

    But prospective candidates in the ruling party were reluctant to move too publicly in case he returned to power in Abuja.

    The appointment of Mr. Jonathan as acting leader changes that dynamic because the vice president is ineligible to run in President Yar'Adua's place given the unofficial understanding between the country's political parties that Nigeria's presidency it to be rotated between north and south.

    If President Yar'Adua is unfit to stand for re-election, the ruling party will nominate another northerner to fill the second four years of the region's allotted eight-year term. If this acting presidency continues, political observers say the front-runner for that nomination will be the man the party chooses as Acting President Jonathan's Acting Vice President.

    Mr. Jonathan is from the south. Concern that transferring power to him would disrupt the country's informal power sharing was one of the biggest reasons northern politicians opposed the move.

    Senate President David Mark met with northern politicians to reassure them that nothing has changed. "This basically is to allay the fear of those who feel that the acting president means that His Excellency The President Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar'Adua has been removed from office," he said.

    "That is not the thing. We don't want people to spread that rumor. He remains the president. But since he is not here, there is somebody who is officially designated to act for him. I know that this type of rumor gains ground easily. That is why we took pain to emphasize this and explain it to the nation," he added.

    Acting President Jonathan says he is pressing ahead with preparations for next year's elections. He says those suspected of trying to disrupt last week's gubernatorial vote in Anambra state will be prosecuted as a warning ahead of future balloting.

    Mr. Jonathan met with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson about the 2011 election. Mr. Carson pledged Obama administration support.

    "We do this as a friend. We do this as a partner," he said. "We do this because Nigeria is a democracy. And we would like to see Nigeria continue on along an upward democratic course."

    If this temporary presidency carries over into next year, Mr. Jonathan is not expected to run for re-election as the southern vice president on a ticket headed by a northerner. That opens prospects for who would be the southern vice presidential nominee, who might then be considered the ruling-party front-runner when the presidential nomination shifts back to the south in 2015.

    For his part, Acting President Jonathan is moving to put the ruling party on course for next year's vote by focusing on key economic issues. "We see a need to prioritize on a few of the most critical areas that have continued to plague our efforts at engendering meaningful economic growth and development. Some of these critical sectors include power, infrastructure, security, generation of employment, and business opportunities for our teeming young men and women," he said.

    His acting presidency is not without challengers. Supporters from President Yar'Adua's home state plan to contest his appointment in court because it was made on the basis of a radio interview about the president being out of the country not on the basis of written notification as specified in the constitution. 

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora