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

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid