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

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

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

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