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

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid