News / Africa

Nigeria's Jonathan Gets Mixed Reviews After Year in Office

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan (file photo)
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan (file photo)
Heather Murdock
ABUJA, Nigeria - One year after President Goodluck Jonathan was sworn in as Nigeria's elected leader, and two years after he assumed office, Nigeria celebrates “Democracy Day,” a holiday that commemorates the 1999 transition from military to civilian rule. Analysts are giving the president mixed reviews.  
 
President Jonathan has been leading Nigeria for two years since the death of his predecessor Umar Yar'Adua, and his signature fedora hat is still popular on the streets of the capital.  But many Nigerians say the enthusiasm is fading as old troubles do not get solved and new dangers arise.  
 
Others say, give him more time, in the hopes that his stated policies of developing the energy sector, reducing corruption, getting more children in school, growing the economy and increasing security will make Nigeria more peaceful and prosperous.

Idang Alibi, a columnist at one of Nigeria’s most prominent newspapers, The Daily Trus, says the president’s plans to streamline the government, privatize the electricity sector and encourage farming will, as the president hopes, “transform Nigeria.”

"We have to be generous to the Goodluck Jonathan administration.  It has not achieved so many tangible things but there are prospects. There are a few areas that I think that he has gotten it right and in no time we will begin to see some successes," Alibi said.
 
Hussaini Abdu, who heads anti-poverty organization ActionAid, says some of these policies could work if they are implemented, but others are misguided.  He says for example the government plan to attract investors by raising the cost of electricity will only alienate the poor, which is the majority of the population.
 
Abdu says the president’s first year has been marred by “bombs and scams,” referring to the rise of the Islamist militant group known as Boko Haram, and the discovery that high-level officials may be guilty of stealing nearly $7 billion worth of public funds last year.

He says it’s hard to judge a government with so little time in office, but things are not looking good for Jonathan.
 
"A lot hasn’t gone right since the elections.  Violence has been increasing and the level of insecurity in the country is unparalleled.  Since the civil war I don’t think the country has found itself with this level of insecurity.  Poverty is increasing, inflation is soaring, unemployment is increasing tremendously," Abdu said.
 
The Nigerian president did not create these problems, but Abdu says he is being held responsible and people are losing their faith in his leadership.  
 
Supporters of President Jonathan say one major accomplishment he has achieved as a leader is helping to broker and then maintaining a 2009 peace deal in the Niger Delta between the government and militants, who claimed to be fighting for the people’s share of the nation’s considerable oil wealth.
 
Anna Ihabor, a lawyer from the Niger Delta, says before the government offered amnesty to the militants, her region was a war zone. “With Jonathan’s administration we have experienced peace in this one year he has been in power.  Most especially in the Niger Delta,” she said.
 
Many here in Abuja look to the southern peace agreement as an example of one of the ways the government should consider dealing with Boko Haram.  Other analysts say the amnesty program itself is flawed.

Isitoah Ozoemene, the chairman of the academic staff of the National Commission for Colleges of Education, says “amnesty” for militants amounts to paying criminals not to commit crimes. "It is not really working.  It is not really working.  What they have succeeded in doing is giving people free money so they don’t go and disrupt operations or transport in the seaport," Ozoemene said.
 
Like many Nigerians, Ozoemene says the government continues to promise the right things.  The only question is: In the next three years, can President Jonathan deliver?

Hilary Uguru contributed to this report from the Niger Delta

You May Like

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More