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

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer 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.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs