News / Africa

Nigerian Lawmakers to Consider Making Vice President Acting Leader

Nigeria's National Assembly meets Tuesday in a session that will consider a request by state governors to make the vice president the country's acting leader because of the prolonged medical absence of the president.  

Lawmakers will discuss the health of President Umaru Yar'Adua, who has not been seen in public since late November when he left for medical treatment in Saudi Arabia.


Because the president did not formally notify parliament of his absence, official power has not passed to Vice President Goodluck Jonathan, raising questions about who is in charge here in Abuja.

While the vice president has made executive decisions during the past 10 weeks - including sending troops to the city of Jos to put-down religious violence - there is growing pressure to make that de facto transfer of power official.

The National Assembly meets Tuesday in a political landscape considerably changed from its vote last month backing the president.

Nigeria's powerful state governors now say they believe a temporary transfer of authority is in the nation's best interest.  And they want the national assembly to make Vice President Jonathan acting leader.

It is unclear whether the assembly can do that as the 1999 constitution says that short of impeachment, power is only transferred at the president's request.

For the first time in this constitutional crisis, a member of the president's Cabinet says he should make that request.  Information Minister Dora Akunyili will push that motion again at a Cabinet meeting scheduled for Wednesday.

But that motion may be moot if the National Assembly acts, or, as some members of the ruling party suggest, President Yar'Adua agrees to transfer power before lawmakers ask him to do so.

In the president's absence, Foreign Minister Ojo Maduekwe says affairs of state have proceeded without incident.

"There is no power vacuum.  There is no leadership vacuum," he said.  "The vice president functions.  And this vice president is functioning fully on behalf of President Yar'Adua."

But the president's absence has had an impact both domestically and regionally.  The planned sale of new offshore oil blocks has been postponed.  Some rebels in the Niger Delta say they have renewed their armed conflict, in part, because President Yar'Adua's much-heralded amnesty program has stalled.

The annual summit of the Economic Community of West African States has twice been postponed because President Yar'Adua is not available to carry out his duties as its leader.

Despite that absence, ECOWAS mediation of Guinea's political crisis has made progress with a new power-sharing deal between the military government and civilian politicians.  But regional diplomats say the delayed summit has slowed momentum on additional action against Niger's president, who extended his term last year in a controversial referendum.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra 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.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid