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

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition More

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends 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.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs