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

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    How Diversity Has Changed America

    Over the past four decades, the level of diversity in the United States has increased most in these four states

    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.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.