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

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed 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.
Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fairi
X
Brian Padden
May 29, 2015 1:27 PM
With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
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 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 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.

VOA Blogs