News / Africa

Economic Issues Key in Nigerian Presidential Vote

A truck with an election campaign banner depicting Nigeria's incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan, in Lagos, Nigeria, Wednesday, April 13, 2011.
A truck with an election campaign banner depicting Nigeria's incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan, in Lagos, Nigeria, Wednesday, April 13, 2011.
Mariama Diallo

After voting in parliamentary elections last weekend, Nigerians will once again head to the polls this Saturday.  This time around, the people of Africa's most populous country are getting ready to choose their next president.

At a campaign rally in Lagos, presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari, the leader of one of the main opposition parties, the Congress for Progressive Change, tells the crowd that despite Nigeria’s vast oil wealth, the majority of its people have not yet seen any benefit.

"Where is the money? Why has the infrastructure collapsed? Corruption, this is what’s destroying Nigeria," said Buhari, a former military leader.

Buhari first came to power in 1983 and some of his supporters say they remember the war he fought against corruption. But his rule only lasted two years because he was overthrown by the military.

In his own campaign, incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan is promising to improve health and education, and focus on the economy. "To move a country from third world to first world like it has been done in other countries, it’s the economy. That is central," he said.

This is the first time Jonathan has actually run for election. A Christian from the nation’s oil-rich southern delta, he inherited the presidency last year when his predecessor Umaru Yar’Adua, a Muslim from the north, passed away during his first term. Although Jonathan was the favorite coming into this year’s elections, his People’s Democratic Party saw significant losses in last Saturday's parliamentary voting.

President Jonathan also faces a challenge from former Nigerian anti-corruption czar Nuhu Ribadu.  Leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria party, he is a former police officer who also once served as the country’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commissioner under former president Olesegun Obasanjo.

In a country where most people live on less than $2 a day, he says his number one priority would be to get ordinary Nigerians out of poverty. "I want you to give me the opportunity and the chance for me to lead this change that we desire in this country," he said.

Ibrahim Shekarau of the All-Nigerian People's Pary rounds out the list of major contenders - with numerous minor candidates also in the running.

Though economic issues play a large part in the campaign, religious identity is also a factor.

"There is no way you can take religion out of politics particularly in a democracy like Nigeria and lots of the candidates have used faith as a campaign element," said Fred Oladeinde, president of the Foundation for Democracy in Africa, based in Washington. He says religion is important but issues are even more important.

"I hope that when people go out on Saturday to vote, that they will despite their consideration for faith, they’ll put issues like security, stability, rights, and employment right in front as they also embrace their religion," he said.

Oladeinde also says this election is especially important for Nigeria's young people. "There’s still so many talented, well-educated Nigerian youth that still cannot find employment in one of the fastest growing economies in the world.  This election is their election and they need to ensure that whoever is elected president of Nigeria is one that would ensure that their lunch, their breakfast and dinner is not eaten by the old political elite," he said.

The 2007 elections were reportedly marred by irregularities. Nigerians hope this year's will be free and fair.

You May Like

Islamic State Survivor: A Yazidi Girl's Tale

Sarah Said Haydar, captured a year ago while fleeing Islamic State onslaught in northern Iraq, was so traumatized by militants, she sought to end her own life More

EU, US Applaud Kosovo Law on Special Court

Joint statement says lawmakers' decision to address allegations of war crimes 'demonstrated their commitment to the rule of law and to honor international agreements' More

ASEAN Ministers to Push for S. China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' 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.
Cambodia Makes Progress Curbing Bear Tradei
X
Robert Carmichael
August 04, 2015 3:07 PM
Cambodia’s wild bears are under unprecedented pressure. Their native forests are being cut down at record rates, and China's huge demand for traditional medicine has made them targets. But experts say Cambodia's conservation efforts are setting an example that has put it well ahead of its neighbors in protecting bears. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.
Video

Video Cambodia Makes Progress Curbing Bear Trade

Cambodia’s wild bears are under unprecedented pressure. Their native forests are being cut down at record rates, and China's huge demand for traditional medicine has made them targets. But experts say Cambodia's conservation efforts are setting an example that has put it well ahead of its neighbors in protecting bears. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.
Video

Video Growing Number of E. Jerusalem Palestinians Seek Israeli Citizenship

Most Palestinians living in East Jerusalem have long rejected the option of full Israeli citizenship, seeing it as a betrayal to their political cause - the formation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. But as that dream remains elusive, more and more Palestinians are applying for Israeli citizenship. Zlatica Hoke reports the decision is hard for many Palestinians who say they have to be pragmatic about it.
Video

Video With No Money, More Students, African Universities Struggle

Academics from around the African continent converged in Johannesburg last week for the African Universities Summit, a chance to tackle some of the major issues facing higher education in Africa today. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Wisconsin's Voter ID Law Still Mired In Controversy

Voter ID laws have sparked controversy across the US. More than 30 states enacted laws requiring citizens to show identification before they vote. Against fierce opposition, the state of Wisconsin recently enacted one the most restrictive voter ID laws in country. As Jeff Swicord reports, no one can predict its impact as the 2016 election nears.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Hailed as Highly Effective

At last, there's a way to end the suffering from the Ebola epidemic that has ravaged West Africa for more than a year. Researchers say the vaccine is so effective, there may never be a major outbreak of Ebola again. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs