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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

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