News / Africa

Expectations High for Nigeria's New Leader

Multimedia

Audio

Nigeria's new president has less than one year to finish out the term of Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, who died last week at the age of 58.

President Jonathan says his brief administration will aspire to uphold the values that Mr. Yar'Adua represented including a commitment to good governance, fighting corruption and enacting electoral reform before next year's nationwide vote.

Former military ruler Yakubu Gowon says electoral reform should top the new president's agenda.

"I hope that Mr. President will concentrate on ensuring that we have free and fair elections in the country and therefore reorganizing the election machinery to make sure they are able to deliver," he said.



President Yar'Adua came to power in a 2007 vote that he said was seriously flawed.  So he set out to make changes that are not yet complete.

Human rights activist Joseph Adekpe says electoral reform and corruption should be the focus of President Jonathan's work because they are the issues that most directly affect the lives of the Nigerian people.

"He could do something within this short period.  Let him prove himself.  You can hear of this one-man-one vote campaign.  If he could give us a good election, that would be a good," he said. "Then he should emphasize more on this anti-corruption drive.  He should not be intimidated by any powers."

Attorney Simeon Efenudu says fighting corruption in Nigeria begins with an honest cabinet.

"We pray to God that those people who he has selected to work with him should be good people who will share his aspirations and make sure that they move Nigeria forward," he expressed.

In his Cabinet, President Jonathan has taken personal responsibility for boosting electricity.  Many people in Africa's largest oil producer still do not have reliable power supplies.  Efenudu says improving electricity is central to economic development.

"If he is able to bring power, you see unemployment will be drastically reduced in Nigeria because there are many artisans who want to work, but they don't have power with which to work.  They can't buy generators to work. Many industries, small-scale industries that people want to set up, they can't set them up because they can't power them," Efenudu stated.

Mr. Jonathan had already replaced much of President Yar'Adua's Cabinet, in his capacity as acting president.  So his formal swearing-in, last Thursday, brought no substantive change at the top of Nigeria's government.

Former ruling-party ward chairman for Delta State Gabriel Osekene says, if President Jonathan has surrounded himself with good people, he should be confident enough to listen to their advice.

"He should have a very good cabinet, a very good executive cabinet that can advise him wisely," Osekene said. "And, he should heed their advice, positive advice as regards the way forward for the administration."

For Osekene, the new president's biggest priority should be securing the gains of an amnesty that President Yar'Adua reached with Niger Delta militants. "In the issue of Niger Delta, this amnesty deal, try as much as possible to make it work," he said.

Niger Delta activists say the federal government has profited from the region's oil wealth, without reinvesting in its people.  President Jonathan says he is moving to revitalize that amnesty plan to protect oil exports, better develop the region's infrastructure and ensure that former gunmen are properly reintegrated into the workforce.

Securing the Niger Delta amnesty, fighting corruption, enacting electoral reform, boosting electricity:  it is a lot to do in less than one year.  Mr. Jonathan says he knows Nigerians have high expectations. That is why he is calling for bold action from his cabinet and says he will tolerate no distractions.

You May Like

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Video Kenyans Lament Al-Shabab's Recruitment of Youths

VOA travels to Isiolo, where residents share their fears, struggles to get loved ones back from Somalia-based militant group More

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition 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.
A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensionsi
X
May 26, 2015 11:11 PM
When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs