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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More