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

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory 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.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid