News / Africa

New Nigerian President Vows Electoral Reform Before Next Year's Vote

Nigeria's new president says he will make sweeping electoral reforms before next year's nationwide vote. He has laid out an aggressive agenda to complete the term of former President Umaru Yar'Adua, who died late Wednesday.

In their time of mourning, President Goodluck Jonathan says Nigerians must aspire to uphold the values that Mr. Yar'Adua represented.

"We must, in the midst of such great adversity, continue to garner our collective efforts towards upholding the values which our departed leader represented," said President Jonathan. "In this regard, our total commitment to good governance, electoral reform, and the fight against corruption will be pursued with greater vigor."

President Yar'Adua and then-vice-president Jonathan came to power in a 2007 election that was widely criticized by political opponents for voter intimidation and ballot-box stuffing. Mr. Yar'Adua recognized the flawed nature of that vote and set out to make Nigerian elections more transparent.

President Jonathan says that mission must now be completed before local government, legislative, and presidential elections scheduled for next year.

"We must enshrine the best standards in our democratic practice," he said. "One of the true tests will be  to ensure that all votes count and are counted in the upcoming general elections."

U.S. President Barack Obama says Mr. Yar'Adua was committed to creating lasting peace in Nigeria and continuing that work is an important part of honoring his legacy.

U.S. State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley:

"President Yar'Adua was working towards building strong democratic institutions based on constitutional processes, and we know that he would want Nigeria to continue on this civilian democratic path," said P.J. Crowley. "We urge all Nigerians to place their faith and support firmly behind orderly, democratic, and constitutional mechanisms."

The change of leadership is not so dramatic for Nigeria as President Jonathan has been running the country for the last several months because of Mr. Yar'Adua's prolonged medical absence. He had already appointed a new Cabinet and started leading efforts to boost electricity supplies.

"I want to reassure Nigerians that the pledges which we have made to improve the socio-economic situation which we face through improved access to electricity, water, education, health facilities, and other social amenities will continue to be given the needed emphasis," said Goodluck Jonathan.

Improving the economy in Africa's largest oil producer means preventing a resurgence of violence in the oil-rich Niger Delta.

"The efforts at ensuring the sustenance of peace and development in the Niger Delta as well as the security of life and property around the entire country will be a top most priority in the remaining period of this administration," he said.

President Yar'Adua secured an amnesty deal with Niger Delta militants last year. But the plan to supply job training and a monthly stipend to former rebels lost momentum because of his health problems. Nigerian security forces now say former gunmen frustrated with the pace of the amnesty plan are once again stealing oil.

Akwa Ibom Senator Effiong Bob says it is up to President Jonathan and the National Assembly to follow through with Mr. Yar'Adua's strong start in the Niger Delta.

"Militancy has drastically reduced because of his action," said Effiong Bob. "What we need now is the continuation and completion of the policy initiated by him."

At the most, President Jonathan has just one year to accomplish these goals before voters go to the polls to choose a new leader.

Under an unofficial power-sharing agreement between northern and southern Nigeria, the ruling party would name a northern politician to run for what would have been President Yar'Adua's second term.

President Jonathan is from the south so would not be a candidate under that arrangement. But there is no constitutional provision stopping him from running for his own mandate, and he has not ruled out doing so.

How much he can get done in the next year may well determine whether President Jonathan challenges the ruling party's regional apportionment or decides to run as an independent.

You May Like

Multimedia US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid