News / Africa

Bomb Blasts Enter Nigerian Presidential Campaign

Smoke and debris fill the sky seconds after a car bomb explodes alongside firemen responding to an initial car bomb that had exploded five minutes earlier, in Abuja, Nigeria, 01 Oct 2010
Smoke and debris fill the sky seconds after a car bomb explodes alongside firemen responding to an initial car bomb that had exploded five minutes earlier, in Abuja, Nigeria, 01 Oct 2010

Nigeria's independence day bomb blasts have become an issue in the country's presidential campaign with an investigation into one of the leading candidate's campaign manager and calls for the president's resignation.

Former military ruler Ibrahim Babangida's presidential campaign says President Goodluck Jonathan is engaged in a political witch hunt after the campaign's director was questioned about last Friday's bombing that killed 12 people.

President Jonathan says he knows the "unpatriotic elements" who sponsored the attack. But his campaign says the president is not interfering in the investigation. Dalhatu Sarki Tafida directs the Jonathan campaign.

"What would you do yourself or anybody? He came. He condemned," said  Dalhatu Sarki Tafida. "And he said investigations would be carried out. And investigations are already going on. What else do you want him to do?"

Some northern politicians are calling for the president's resignation over his handling of the crisis. Tafida says that is an effort by some within the ruling party to take power by force.

"How can you start calling for Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, the president, to resign? What is the relevance of that? How do you start calling for impeachment, the same party? I think there is something fundamentally wrong," said Tafida.

Babangida deputy campaign director Kanti Bello says what is wrong is the president trying to intimidate his political opponents, likening the president to former military ruler Sani Abacha.

"Look, we have gone through this road earlier," said Bello. "Remember Abacha? Some people were taken, including Obasanjo, as coup plotters. Is this the way we are going in this democratic dispensation? It would be unfortunate for this country."

President Jonathan's candidacy disrupts an informal deal within the ruling party that says the next Nigerian leader should be from the north to complete what would have been the second term of the late President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua instead of continuing on with President Jonathan, who is from the south.

President Jonathan is from the oil-rich Niger Delta. So there has been some criticism of the speed with which he absolved Niger Delta militants of responsibility for the Abuja bombing, even though an e-mail attributed to the group warned of the blast before it happened.

President Jonathan's defense of Niger Delta militants makes Babangida supporter Umar Aminu Brigade suspicious.

"Maybe they had a plan for this between him and them," said Brigade. "Because if people on their own came out categorically to say that we are the people who carried out this kind of unfortunate issue and yet the president came out categorically to the media, to the whole world, to tell the whole world that they are not the people who carried out all these things, what kind of president do we have?"

Brigade says Babangida is far better prepared to handle security.

"General Ibrahim Badamsi Babangida will do better than Goodluck Jonathan looking at their background politically, militarily, and what have you," he said. "Because when you talk about the issue of a military background, when you talk about the issue of security, Babangida will do better looking at what is really going on in the country."

Jonathan supporter Moses Okpogode says it is not military experience alone that qualifies a president to handle security.

"General Ibrahim Babangida is a former military ruler and he has been in the security system for some time," said Okpogode. "But it is not him per se that can bring security to the country. Security structures in the country can also be overhauled by the correct president, President Goodluck Jonathan."

Okpogode says President Jonathan has a better sense of the problems underlying insecurity, especially in the Niger Delta.

"I think because of his understanding of the democratic dispensation, Goodluck Jonathan is in a better position to bring security to the country, especially in this period where even people in the Niger Delta see it that they could bring down the security situation if there person is not there as the president," he said.

The bombings put security at the top of this presidential campaign with Babangida saying there is an abysmal lack of governance as the Jonathan administration is overwhelmed by crises. President Jonathan says there were security lapses that contributed to the bombing but he is confident that those responsible for the violence will be brought to justice.  

You May Like

Video Iran Nuclear Deal Becomes US Campaign Issue

Voters in three crucial battleground states - Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania - overwhelmingly oppose nuclear deal with Iran More

With IS in Coalition Cross-Hairs, al-Qaida's Syria Affiliate Reemerges

Jabhat al-Nusra has rebounded, increasingly casting itself as a critical player in battle for Syria’s future More

Lessons Learned From Katrina, 10 Years Later

FEMA chief Craig Fugate says key changes include better preparation, improved coordination among state, federal assistance agencies 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs