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

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells state's Republican Convention delegates campaign will be 'battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora