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

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani 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.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid