News / Africa

Nigerian Presidential Candidates Campaigning as Voter Registration Begins

People wait in line at a registration center in Abuja, 15 Jan 2011.
People wait in line at a registration center in Abuja, 15 Jan 2011.

Voter registration is underway in Africa's most populous nation as Nigerians prepare for April elections.

More than 70 million Nigerians are eligible to vote in this presidential election, and campaigning is well underway with all of the major parties having chosen their candidates.

President Goodluck Jonathan is the nominee of the ruling People's Democratic Party, which has won the past three presidential elections.

"With the present constitution, no party in Nigeria has the capacity to undo PDP," said Delta State University Political Science Professor Isitoah Ozoemene, who says Jonathan is the clear frontrunner, just eight months after taking charge of the party following the death of President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua. "Goodluck has been quiet.  He has been listening, and he has subtly been able to exact control.  He does not shout," he added.

Nigeria's president Jonathan addresses delegates during the primaries of the ruling People's Democratic Party in Abuja, 13 Jan 2011
Nigeria's president Jonathan addresses delegates during the primaries of the ruling People's Democratic Party in Abuja, 13 Jan 2011

Jonathan broke an informal power-sharing agreement in the ruling party that rotated the presidency between north and south.  That deal said a northerner should be the nominee for this vote to finish out what would have been President Yar'Adua's second term.

But in the ruling party primary, Jonathan handily defeated the northern candidate, former vice president Atiku Abubakar.

That opens the way for northern candidates from other parties, chief among them former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari.  Official Abubakar Sadiq Abba, of Buhari's party, says Abubakar's loss in the ruling PDP primary is a big gain for Buhari.

"I believe the majority of northerners will vote Buhari from even within the PDP family, because they will use it as a protest vote to teach their governors a big lesson for betraying their own trust and confidence reposed in them during the last primary elections," he said.

Abba says Mr. Buhari is well positioned to win a majority of northern states.

"He is already far ahead of everybody, including President Jonathan in northern Nigeria," said Abba.  "So 15 of the 19 northern state are already in Buhari's hands as far as the followers are concerned, as far as the citizens are concerned, and as far as the voters are concerned."

Political science professor Ozoemene believes the preponderance of northern candidates will split the northern vote and weaken Mr. Buhari's chances.

"He is a northern leader who is banking on the support of the entire north," he said. "But for me the north is now fragmented.  There used to be a time when it was one north, one people, one destiny.  Today the scenario has changed."

Among the challengers for the northern vote is the Action Congress of Nigeria candidate, former anti-corruption chief Nuhu Ribadu.  Ribadu supporter Babafe Ojudu says the party's consensus shows it has reach beyond the north.

"It shows the spirit that brought all of us together it shows that in our party we can talk to one another we can reason with one another we can compromise with one another and reach a consensus that's the beauty of democracy, that's the beauty of ACN party," said Ojudu.

Ribadu supporter Yomi Adedogu says the ruling party is mistaken if it believes it is the only party with national appeal.

"Jonathan has won his party ticket," he said.  "Ribadu has won my party ticket.  And I can assure you that we are the only party any party can not beat in this country."

If no candidate wins 24 of Nigeria's 36 states in the April 9th vote, there will be a second-round run off between the top two finishers one week later.

You May Like

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid