News / Africa

Nigerian Lawmakers to Consider New Vice President

Architect Mohammed Namadi Sambo, possible choice for Vice President in Nigeria
Architect Mohammed Namadi Sambo, possible choice for Vice President in Nigeria

Nigerian lawmakers this week open confirmation hearings for a new vice president, following the death of President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, earlier this month.

Nigeria's new president, Goodluck Jonathan, wants Kaduna state Governor Namadi Sambo to help him finish out the final year of President Yar'Adua's term.

It is a surprise choice, much as President Yar'Adua surprised many Nigerians by choosing Mr. Jonathan as his running mate for their 2007 election.

Like Mr. Yar'Adua, Mr. Jonathan bypassed better-known candidates for a quieter, less-obviously ambitious governor with a solid record of financial management.  And, like Mr. Yar'Adua, Mr. Jonathan chose a deputy from a different region to preserve Nigeria's sometimes-contentious balance of power.

As much as political opponents said Mr. Jonathan was imposed on President Yar'Adua by party leaders, so too has the choice of Governor Sambo raised questions about the influence of Nigeria's powerful state governors.

Political scientist Isitoah Ozoemene says President Jonathan's choices were limited.

"The governors of the states seem to have taken precedence," Ozoemene said. "What happens in Nigeria now is that what governors want, that is what must happen.  And, the governors have insisted that one of them must be made the vice president.  And, today, one of them is made the vice president.  So I would not be so daft to assume that it was a free selection."

Hope George chairs the national youth council in Nigeria's southern Delta state.

"There is no politician that does not have backing," George said. "But I want to believe he was not sponsored by anybody.  Goodluck just saw him among one as the best among the governors and I believe that is the right choice he has made."

Ovie Joseph is secretary to the ruling-party chairman of the Ughelli North local government area.  He says choosing a political deputy is always a political choice and that Governor Sambo's nomination is no different.

"The man who picked him knows why he was picked.  Politics is a game of interests," Joseph said. "People who are playing it have their own personal interests too."

Joseph says he is not concerned by suggestions that the governor was put forward by former military ruler Ibrahim Babangida, who says he is running for president next year.

"Even if anybody is behind this or other reasons are behind, the head is always there," Joseph said. "The one there (vice president) is just like a spare person. Unless the head is out, he can not disturb the system.  So I feel whether he is being sponsored by anybody or not, as long as the man Jonathan is there, he can always take care of the situation."

Preye Ketebu-Brown is chairman of the national youth council in President Jonathan's home, Bayelsa state.

"Very careful considerations and deliberations are always made to arrive at such decisions so that you don't hurt powers that be and so that the quality remains balanced and so that the country can always be seen to working toward one particular goal and not anybody's individual agenda," Ketebu-Brown said.

Nigeria's national assembly opens hearings on Governor Sambo Tuesday. With less than a year to go before new elections, Ozoemene says it should be a quick confirmation.

"There is very little time left in this administration," Ozoemene said. "And, so the best thing for them is to put away all their differences, all their personal goals and all their so-called sectional interests and simply give the president everything that he needs to work with.  And, once he has said this is the person I want to be vice president, they should oblige him."

Had President Jonathan chosen as his deputy a political heavyweight from northern Nigeria, that person would have immediately become the ruling-party's frontrunner for next year's vote, under a regional power sharing deal.

His choice of a northern governor with little nationwide experience makes it easier for Mr. Jonathan to run, himself, if he chooses to challenge the informal arrangement that alternates the presidency between northern and southern Nigeria every eight years.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Troops Depart

Afghans are grappling with how exodus will affect country's fragile economy More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs