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

    Video Obama Remembers Fallen Troops for Memorial Day

    update President urges Americans this holiday weekend to 'take a moment and offer a silent word of prayer or public word of thanks' to country's veterans

    Upsurge of Migratory Traffic Across Sahara From West to North Africa

    A report by the International Organization for Migration finds more than 60,000 migrants have transited through the Agadez region of Niger between February and April

    UN Blocks Access to Journalist Advocacy Group

    United Nations has rejected bid from nonprofit journalist advocacy group that wanted 'consultative status,' ranking that would have given them greater access to UN meetings

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora