News / Africa

Nigerian Lawmakers Name Acting President

Goodluck Jonathan to serve as country's leader while President Yar'Adua undergoes medical treatment in Saudi Arabia.

Nigeria's Acting President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja. The country's parliament has named Jonathan acting president while President Umaru Yar'Adua remains hospitalized in Saudi Arabia (November 2009 file photo)
Nigeria's Acting President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja. The country's parliament has named Jonathan acting president while President Umaru Yar'Adua remains hospitalized in Saudi Arabia (November 2009 file photo)

Nigeria's parliament says Vice President Goodluck Jonathan is the country's acting leader, more than ten weeks after President Umaru Yar'Adua left for medical treatment in Saudi Arabia.

Nigeria's Senate and House of Representatives Tuesday both passed motions saying Vice President Jonathan "shall henceforth discharge the functions of the office of the president, commander in chief of the armed forces."

The vice president has been serving in that capacity since President Yar'Adua left Nigeria in late November. But that was not official because the president did not write a letter to parliament notifying lawmakers of his absence.

He has still not written that letter. But the Senate and House chose to act based on a radio interview the president gave last month confirming that he is in Saudi Arabia for medical treatment.

Lagos State Senator Ganiyu Solomon says parliament responded to the wishes of a majority of Nigerians.

"It seems that we don't have the president around for 78 days, and there's a kind of logjam. Somebody must take the initiative to come up with something that is acceptable to the whole lot of Nigerians. We felt the right thing, what they really want, is to have power given to the vice president as acting president. And we act accordingly," Solomon said.

Akwa Ibom State Senator Bob Effiong says the country is now better off than it was before lawmakers approved the temporary transfer of power.

"The interest of Nigeria is very paramount. There must be a president. There must be somebody who leads. There must be a leader at these critical times to discharge the functions of the office of the president. We cannot continue in a vacuum. And I believe the Senate did the right thing," Effiong said.

Not all lawmakers agree. Senator Yakubu Garba Lado is from President Yar'Adua's home state of Katsina. He asked how parliament can consider a radio interview as written notification.

"It is clearly said in Section 145 that the president has to write that he is going on vacation. But I wonder how the distinguished senators will accept an interview that he granted which of, course, a lot of Nigerians are even questioning whether that is his voice or not," Lado said.

Senator Lado says lawmakers Tuesday exceeded their power.

"We refuse to consider that interview as a written something. So that will indicate there is some mischief behind it. I believe that it was wrong. And I know some Nigerians may decide to take us to court. And when we are challenged in a court of law, I believe we will be defeated because we do not have the power to do what we did today," Lado said.

Political momentum shifted against the president last week when Nigeria's powerful state governors said a temporary transfer of authority would be in the nation's best interest.

Information Minister Dora Akunyili broke with the rest of the president's Cabinet in calling for such a transfer of power after the Cabinet twice passed resolutions saying Mr. Yar'Adua was fit to govern.

You May Like

Video Video Claims to Show Shi'ite Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes 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.
NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planeti
X
George Putic
March 04, 2015 8:51 PM
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More