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

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    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.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora