News / Africa

Nigerian President's Supporters Question Legality of Acting President

Nigeria's new acting president and commander-in-chief Goodluck Jonathan is pictured as he takes office in Abuja, 10 Feb 2010
Nigeria's new acting president and commander-in-chief Goodluck Jonathan is pictured as he takes office in Abuja, 10 Feb 2010
TEXT SIZE - +

Some supporters of Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua plan a legal challenge to the appointment of vice president Goodluck Jonathan as acting leader. Nigerian lawmakers made the move more than ten weeks after President Yar'Adua left for medical treatment in Saudi Arabia.

In a nationwide address accepting his appointment, Mr. Jonathan acknowledged the unusual nature of Tuesday's parliamentary vote making him acting leader.

"The circumstances in which I find myself assuming office today as acting president of our country are uncommon, sober, and reflective," he said. "More than ever, therefore, I urge all Nigerians as a people of faith in God to pray fervently for the full recovery of our dear president and his early return."

Nigeria's constitution says parliament may transfer temporary power to the vice president whenever the president notifies them in writing that he is going on vacation or is otherwise unable to discharge the functions of his office.

But President Yar'Adua did not write to lawmakers before leaving in late November. So parliament acted instead on the basis of a radio interview in which the president confirmed that he is in Saudi Arabia for medical treatment.

Nigeria's Bar Association says such a move is not backed by the constitution. The country's Action Congress party says it is the "height of illegality."

Senator Yakubu Garba Lado is from President Yar'Adua's home state of Katsina. He says  lawmakers exceed their power in making Mr. Jonathan the acting leader and believes his appointment will be overturned in court.

"I know some Nigerians may decide to take us to court. And when we are challenged in a court of law, I believe we will be defeated because we do not have the power to do what we did," said Lado.

Senate President David Mark says that authority comes from the doctrine of necessity. "The doctrine of necessity requires that we do what is necessary when faced with a situation that was not contemplated by the constitution. And that is precisely what we have done," he said.

Mark says the appointment in no way weakens Nigeria's commitment to constitutional order. "We have as well maintained the sanctity of our constitution as the ultimate law of the land," he said.

The Economic Community of West African States says it is pleased by the development. 

"The institutions in Nigeria are very strong," said Mahamane Toure, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs. "This is exactly the type of development we would like to see in other members states whereby the institutions, civil society, the press, the whole media comes out to take ownership of a democratic process and makes sure that rules are abided by when they are agreed by the majority of the citizens."

Asked about the legality of Mr. Jonathan's appointment, Toure says ECOWAS believes the situation is being handled properly by the proper institutions and that, in the end, the interests of Nigerian citizens will be protected.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid