News / Africa

Jonathan Frontrunner for Next Year's Vote in Nigeria

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan delivers a speech in Port Harcourt on 14 May 2010
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan delivers a speech in Port Harcourt on 14 May 2010

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has less than a year to finish out the term of the country's late president Umaru Musa Yar'Adua. But he is already the frontrunner for next year's election and will be hard to beat if he improves electricity and enacts electoral reforms.  Mr. Jonathan's candidacy would challenge an informal regional power sharing agreement.

After months of uncertainty as Nigeria's president, Mr. Jonathan has moved quickly to show that this is now his government following President Yar'Adua's death.

With a new cabinet and new vice president, Mr. Jonathan has set ambitious goals to boost electricity production, secure the gains of an amnesty for Niger Delta militants, and enact electoral reforms before next year's vote.

If he succeeds, University of Lagos political science professor Abubakar Momoh says President Jonathan will be hard to beat in the race for the nomination of the ruling People's Democratic Party.

"There are no people outside of this network of government patronage as such in the PDP that are able, beyond their politicking and sloganeering, who are able to have the kind of economy to be able to sustain the incumbency patronage that Goodluck is able to doll out in the context of the configuration that we now have," Momoh said. "And note that they have only seven months to sort themselves out and that gives an advantage to Goodluck, because they did not expect this scenario."

Momoh says the president is well positioned to take advantage of divisions within the party over an informal power sharing agreement that rotates the presidency between north and south. That deal says the next ruling-party candidate should be from the north. President Jonathan is from the south.

"Goodluck is an incumbent, and now a lot of following is tilting in his direction, the balance of forces are therefore in his favor. He's been able to get some echelons, strong henchmen within the secretariat of the party to go, and more heads will roll," Momoh stated. "And they are bringing in allegations of corruption to undermine them, their moral credibility is totally eroded and that is the weakest link in all these matters."

One of the biggest obstacles to a Jonathan candidacy was ruling-party chairman Vincent Ogbulafor, who said the regional power sharing deal must be respected. But he is stepping down in the face of federal corruption charges and challenges from within the party about how it selects its candidates.

Former Minister of State for Justice Musa Elayo Abdullahi is a member of the ruling party's reform forum. "The reform group believes that the delegates that are being made to elect the governors and the president are heavily tainted toward the people who are occupying the office of governors currently. Therefore, if you are standing for election as a member of the house of assembly of a state or the house of representatives or the senate, the governor decides whether you can win that primary or not," he said.

The ruling party's reform movement wants to weaken the power of state governors to make the selection of candidates more transparent. That could help President Jonathan as many of his challengers are expected to come from Nigeria's 36 statehouses.

Unreliable electricity is one of the most potent political issues in Africa's largest oil producer. President Jonathan has taken charge of improving power supplies by keeping that portfolio for himself in the new cabinet.

It is a gamble, especially with so short a time to deliver. But if voters see a real difference, it could be the cornerstone of a campaign that political science professor Momoh believes the president is already planning.

"Jonathan is going to stand [for] elections. Let's not make any qualms about it, even from what he said at the party executive meeting they had about three weeks ago. If you read within the line, he talks about, to use his phrase, "mosquito networking," Momoh explained. "According to him, he was fair. He was square. It was OK. So he was just trying to advertise to the world that 'well look, this thing is permissible, it is a democracy so, let as many flower and blossom'. So that is the thing he is saying to you guys: I am coming."

President Jonathan is under no real deadline to formally announce his candidacy. The longer he keeps his political opponents off balance, the less time they will have to mount a campaign against him.

You May Like

Yemen Brings US, Iran Closer to Naval Face-off

US sending two more ships to waters off coast of Yemen to take part in 'maritime security operations' More

Minorities Become Majority Across US

From 2000 to 2013, minorities became the majority in 78 counties in the United States. Here's where those demographic shifts are happening More

Japan's Maglev Train Breaks Own Speed Record

Seven-car 'magnetic levitation' train traveled at more than 600 kilometers per hour during test run Tuesday 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.
New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Paini
X
Shelley Schlender
April 20, 2015 7:03 PM
Pain has a purpose - it can stop you from touching a flame or from walking on a broken leg. As an injury heals, the pain goes away. Usually. But worldwide, one out of every five people suffers from pain that lasts for months and years, leading to lost jobs, depression, and rising despair when medical interventions fail or health experts hint that a pain sufferer is making it up. From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Italy Rescues Migrants After Separate Deadly Capsize Incident

Italy continued its massive search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean Monday for the capsized boat off the coast of Libya that was carrying hundreds of migrants, while at the same time rescuing Syrian migrants from another vessel off the coast of Sicily. Thirteen children were among the 98 Syrian migrants whose boat originated from Turkey on the perilous journey to Europe.
Video

Video New Test Set to Be Game Changer in Eradicating Malaria

The World Health Organization estimates 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria, with children under the age of five and pregnant women being the most vulnerable. As World Malaria Day approaches (April 25), mortality rates are falling, and a new test -- well into the last stage of trials -- is having positive results in Kenya. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA from Nairobi.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.

VOA Blogs