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

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    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