News / Africa

Nigerian Presidential Candidates Campaign on Economy

Trade union members display placards during a protest, in Lagos, Nigeria, Nov 10, 2010
Trade union members display placards during a protest, in Lagos, Nigeria, Nov 10, 2010

Multimedia

Audio

Nigeria's economy is one of the biggest campaign issues for presidential candidates, especially following last week's strike over wages.

President Goodluck Jonathan ended the strike after just one day by promising to raise the minimum wage, which is now about $50 a month.

Political science professor Isitoah Ozoemene says the president gets credit for ending the walkout so quickly, but risks greater political losses if he fails to deliver on higher wages before next year's vote.

Ozoemene says the economy is an emotional issue for Nigerian voters, who are frustrated that lawmakers have taken so long to raise public wages when there appears to be no limit to how much money politicians make.

"Nigerians are suffering," said Ozoemene.  "They don't have food on the table. Yet they see those who are supposed to be their public servants living in extravagant ways. Nobody approved their salaries, so why should it be the case [for workers]?"

President Jonathan is campaigning on what he says is evidence that he has got the economy back on track after a drop in oil revenues, which account for 85 percent of the federal budget.

"We have rolled out a law that requires companies operating in the oil and gas sectors of our economy to utilize an appreciable percentage of their goods and services from local sources," said  Jonathan.  "This will generate employment for our youth and empower our people."

The president's main challenger, former military ruler Ibrahim Babangida says Nigeria is in economic crisis.

"The economy must be productive." The society must care. And we must stop the current disconnect between the Nigerian people and their government,” said Babangida. “ It is for this reason that the presidency of 2011 is very, very critical for our long-term survival as a people and as a nation."

So what do voters think about the candidates' economic credentials?  Salisu Ibrahim says Mr. Babangida's eight years atop a military dictatorship give him more experience than Mr. Jonathan.

"He was president of this country before. He has been there for many years. He has experienced so many things. He has introduced a lot of new changes that bring life into the economy," noted Ibrahim.

One of Mr. Babangida's biggest change was a 1987 structural adjustment program. Critics says the economic austerity plan disproportionately raised prices for the middle class. Ibrahim Salisu says that was not Mr. Babangida's fault.

"That issue of structural adjustment program is an issue that was global at that time," added Ibrahim.  "It wasn't an isolated case for Nigeria. That is why the failure should not be related to Nigeria alone without relating it to the global economy at that time."

Voter Phillip Ojisua believes President Jonathan is better suited to guide the economy after coming to power earlier this year following the death of President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua.

"Since Jonathan was there, even before the death of our former president Yar'Adua, we've never had any problem of people spending the night or spending one hour at the fuel station," said Ojisua.  "So I think that is a plus of the present government."

Ojisua adds thats Mr. Jonathan clearly has less experience than Mr. Babangida, but he believes the current president offers better leadership.

"I believe one was not born with experience, so if he is given a free hand he will do his best," said Ojisua.

Mr. Jonathan and Mr. Babangida are both running to be the presidential candidate of Nigeria's ruling party. Mr. Jonathan's candidacy upsets an informal power sharing agreement that rotates the presidency between north and south every eight years. That deal specifies that the next president should be form the north to fill what would have been President Yar'Adua's second term instead of continuing on with Mr. Jonathan, who is from the south.

You May Like

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible 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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs