News / Africa

Nigerian President Vows to Strengthen Democratic Rule

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, center, inspects a guard of honor during his inauguration ceremony at the main parade ground in Nigeria's capital of Abuja. Jonathan was sworn in Sunday for a full four-year term as president of Nigeria, May 29, 2011
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, center, inspects a guard of honor during his inauguration ceremony at the main parade ground in Nigeria's capital of Abuja. Jonathan was sworn in Sunday for a full four-year term as president of Nigeria, May 29, 2011

The inauguration of President Goodluck Jonathan in Nigeria Sunday marks the country's third civilian government since the end of military rule in 1999.

President Jonathan first came to power following the death last year of leader Umaru Musa Yar'adua. Ascending from the vice presidency, Jonathan vowed to continue the Yar'adua administration's commitment to electoral reform.

So having won his own four-year mandate in elections last month, President Jonathan says he understands well what that vote means for Nigerian democracy.

“Over 72 million eligible Nigerians endured all manner of inconveniences just to secure their voters' cards in order to exercise their right to choose those who will govern them. At the polls, we saw the most dramatic expression of the hunger for democracy, stories of courage and patriotism,” said Jonathan.

In his inaugural address, President Jonathan vowed to work with the legislative and judicial branches of government to strengthen the electoral process.

The executive director of Nigeria's Center for Democracy and Development, Jibo Ibrahim, says the three branches have had their difficulties since 1999 but have all risen to the occasion at critical times, especially the judiciary.

“They have made considerable contributions toward sustaining the political order in a context where elections have been very problematic, unstable, and characterized by fraud. So the judiciary has been able to step in to at least sustain some level of electoral justice,” said Ibrahim.

Ibrahim says lawmakers have worked hard to keep their distance from the presidency. “That is very important in a functional democracy. So I think the institutions all have their problems, but they have been able to sustain their roles over the last 12 years,” he added.

Hussein Abdu, Nigeria's country director for the anti-poverty group Action Aid, says President Jonathan must strengthen the institutions of democracy. He says much of the credit for April's vote went to electoral commissioner Attahiru Jega, not the institution of the commission itself.

“Yes, we did better than where we were coming from in these last elections. That is quite good. It is quite commendable. But what I hear people saying is about the role of the chair of the electoral commission, the person of Attahiru Jega and the role that he played," said Adu. "So we don't actually want individual-driven institutions. We want institutions that are strong enough that even if you bring the worst person, the institution will discipline that person to do the right thing.”

Yobe State Senator Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan says the experience of last month's nationwide vote should improve the next election.

“I think we can build on a fairly solid and sound foundation the way of electing our leaders and representatives. In 2015, by the grace of God, from our experience of 2011 elections we should be able to conduct even better and more transparent and credible elections than 2011. And everybody will have known by then - politicians, electors, and everyone - that you need to perform in office before you are returned,” he stated.

Electoral observers from the group of Commonwealth nations recommend that the electoral commission improve communications with poll workers. In their final report on the vote, the Commonwealth observers are calling for timely prosecution to end the culture of impunity for those who commit electoral offenses.

You May Like

Ukraine: Mysterious 'Roaming Tank' Reportedly Takes Aim at Smugglers

Ukraine's TV, print media, Facebook abuzz with reports a 'roaming tank' is on the loose, destroying vehicles of those involved in smuggling More

US Wildlife Service Begins Probe of Killing of Cecil the Lion

Minnesota man accused of killing beast is in hiding, has been asked to contact US officials; White House to review extradition petition More

Video Kerry Five-Nation Tour to Cover Security, Iran Nuclear Deal

Secretary of state will visit Egypt, Qatar, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam to discuss security issues, Iran nuclear deal, Trans-Pacific Partnership 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.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs