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

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine 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.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid