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

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
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.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs