News / Africa

Frontrunners for Nigerian Presidency Focus on Economy, Security

Multimedia

Audio

Presidential campaigning is underway in Nigeria with the two frontrunners to lead Africa's most populous nation. Both of the leading candidates have experience running the country, though neither was ever elected to do so.

Presidential campaigning is underway in Nigeria with the two frontrunners to lead Africa's most populous nation. Both of the leading candidates have experience running the country, though neither was ever elected to do so.

President Goodluck Jonathan came to power four months ago following the death of President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua. Retired general Ibrahim Babangida took power in a 1985 coup and ran the country for eight years atop a military dictatorship.

Candidates' promises

Now, both men are running for the nomination of a ruling party that has won all three presidential elections since the return to civilian rule 11 years ago. Both men are promising to revive the economy and end instability in parts of the north and in the oil-rich Niger Delta.

President Jonathan says his four months in office have opened his eyes to the vast potentials of the presidency as an instrument to transform Nigeria.

"I discovered that by insisting that the right things be done, we could begin a turnaround in our power sector by involving the private sector in power generation and distribution," said Mr. Jonathan. "We saw to it that normalcy began to return to the Niger Delta by ensuring government's fidelity to its promises. And this has helped to stabilize our national revenue."

Connect government with people

Mr. Babangida says there is a disconnect between the Jonathan government and the Nigerian people, especially the large number of unemployed young people and women.

"I want to dedicate this period of my life to that cause," said Babangida. "Today, the reality of our present circumstances is that our country is in crisis. We cry over our economy. We agonize over the state of our educational system as well as organized crime. Our infrastructure has collapsed, and we continue to live with epileptic supply of electricity."

The retired general says his accomplishments make his participation in this election imperative.

"I have drawn on my background, experience, and the realities of our contemporary history to dedicate myself to the restoration of good governance in our country," he added.

Mr. Babangida annulled a 1993 election that is widely seen as the country's fairest ever. His regime was marked by repeated allegations of corruption and mismanagement.

Elections offer new Opportunity

Without mentioning his opponent by name, President Jonathan says Nigeria is at the threshold of a new era that demands a new kind of leadership uncontaminated by prejudices of the past.

"I set the stage for free and fair elections by constituting an electoral commission comprising of Nigerians with impeccable credentials for firmness and incorruptibility," said President Jonathan. "I charged our anti-corruption agencies to speed up the war against corruption and respect no sacred cows in the process."

Mr. Babangida too speaks of the need for a new type of leadership, saying his time out of office has made him better prepared to return to power.

"I believe strongly that in the midst of the present signals there is hope for a foundational renewal," Babangida said. "I am certain that Nigerians have the capability to rise to the demands of rapid development and positive change under a competent, visionary, bold, fair, firm, honest, purpose-driven leadership."

President Jonathan says he intends to run a positive campaign to unite the country behind improving education, electricity, and water.

"I have come to preach love not hate, I have come to break you away from divisive tendencies of the past, which have stopped our drive to true nationhood," Mr. Jonathan said. "I have no enemies to fight, you are all my friends and we share a common destiny."

President Jonathan's election bid upsets an informal ruling-party deal that rotates power between north and south every eight years. Under that plan, the next Nigerian president should be from the north to finish out what would have been President Yar'Adua's second term instead of continuing on with President Jonathan, who is from the south.

Candidates face other challenges

In addition to Mr. Babangida, Mr. Jonathan is facing ruling-party challenges from former vice president Atiku Abubakar and former security advisor Aliyu Gusau.

It is a quick campaign, with ruling-party primaries scheduled to begin October 18th.

You May Like

Report: $60 Billion Leaves Africa Illegally Each Year

Report by joint UN and African Union panel says African countries need to take concrete measures to stop illegal money flow from continent each year More

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Some analysts say Russian Tu-95 bombers were flying near British airspace to warn Britain about an inquest into a murdered Russian spy More

Mugabe Defends Image Amid Controversy at Close of AU Summit

He rejects concerns about how the West might perceive his leadership, saying he's focused on African development 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.
Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relationsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
January 31, 2015 10:50 PM
Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Neighborhood Divided Over Conflict

People in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk districts find themselves squarely in the path of advancing Russian-backed rebels, who want to take back the territory they held at the beginning of the conflict last year. Many local residents are afraid, but others would welcome the change, even when a rebel shell lands in their neighborhood. From the Luhansk district, 15 kilometers from where the Ukrainian government marks the front line, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid