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

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid