News / Africa

Nigerian Presidential Candidates Campaign for Youth Vote

The frontrunners in Nigeria's presidential election are both seeking the country's considerable youth vote.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan is 52 years old. His main rival for the Nigerian presidency, retired general Ibrahim Babangida, is 69.

Yet both men say they understand the needs of the younger generation and are actively campaigning for the youth vote in a country with more than 45 million people between the ages of 10 and 24.

Mr. Babangida says there is a disconnect between the government and young Nigerians.

"The plight of the young man and woman who together can safeguard our future must engage our collective attention. I worry about the large army of youths and women who are unemployed. They are our countries most critical resources," he said.

President Jonathan says he has passed laws to make foreign oil and gas companies source more of their goods and services locally, which he says will make more jobs for young people.

But his biggest campaign appeal to the youth vote appears to come in the telling of his life as a child in the Niger Delta - little money, no electricity, no shoes for school, some days only one meal. And yet he says he never despaired.

"If I could make it, you can make it, and nothing will inhibit you. My story is a story of a young Nigerian whose access to education opens up vast opportunities that enabled me to attain my present position," he said.

So what do young people think about the two candidates?

Bunmi Oladipo says she prefers President Jonathan, in part, because he is younger.

"Some of the things he has done, for me as a Nigerian, I think it portrays that he means well," said Oladipo. "He is insisting on credible elections. And he is insisting on one man one vote and all that. I believe that he has something to offer. We should give him a chance."

Oladipo agrees that Mr. Babangida has more experience than President Jonathan. But she says Mr. Babangida's experience is nothing Nigerians would ever want to live through again.

"No matter how he wants to wish away those incidents that happened - the annulment of June 12th [elections], the crisis in our financial sector, proscription of media houses, students going on strike for a long time - all those things. There is no way he can wish away those things. Nigerians will always remember those years he ruled," she said.

Student Shehu Musa says Mr. Babangida has every reason to be proud of his legacy.

"What Babangida did when he was the president, most of the structures he put in place are still the structures we are using today," said Musa. "Successive governments have not been able to improve on such structures. If you are telling me that Jonathan has changed the economy, I don't believe that is what happened. He has just consolidated on what he inherited from the former president."

President Jonathan's candidacy disrupts an informal agreement in the ruling party that rotates power between north and south. That deal says the next Nigerian president should be from the north to finish out what would have been the late President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua's second term instead of continuing on with President Jonathan, who is from the south.

Musa says the deal, though unofficial, should be respected. So he is backing Mr. Babangida, who is known popularly by his initials IBB.

"I will go for IBB because power is in the north presently. And if we are going to abide by the PDP arrangement, it is going to give us peace in the country," he said.

Both candidates must now carry on a far longer campaign with the postponement of ruling party primaries because the electoral commission is asking that the vote itself be put back from January to April.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

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