News / Africa

Nigerian Voters Debate: Jonathan or Babangida?

With presidential campaigning under way in Nigeria voters are debating the merits of the two frontrunners.

A president with four-months experience in office or a former coup leader who ran the country for eight years atop a military dictatorship?  Those are the two leading choices for Nigerian voters: President Goodluck Jonathan or retired General Ibrahim Babangida.

Publisher Adeyemi Adebanwo says President Jonathan has shown he is qualified to lead the country since coming to power in May, following the death of President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua.  But Adebanwo prefers Mr. Babangida's leadership.

"I like Goodluck Jonathan.  He is a fair man.  He is a honest man.  He is a humble man.  He is an easy going man.  The only reservation I have against him is he is a slow person. But Babangida is a man of action to an extent.  I think IBB is more of an action man," Adebanwo said.

Adebanwo says there is no denying the corruption of  Babangida's rule from 1985 to 1993.  But he believes the former general, known popularly by his initials IBB, accomplished many great things, including moving Nigeria's capital from Lagos to Abuja.

"It has always been the consensus that people are saying that it was during the time of IBB that corruption was much in the country.  But I believe he is man who has really built a lot of structures," Adebanwo states. "If you look at Abuja generally, most of the major structures - roads, bridges - most infrastructure you see in Abuja, he was the one who did it.  So I think he could be a better person."

Babangida supporter Folashode Onabanjo returned from Europe to help the former general's campaign.

"Everything to do with better Nigeria, IBB is there.  He stands for the betterment of Nigeria, to be good, to be a good country, to be a developed country that could talk to any other in the world and compete with any other in the whole world," Onabanjo said.

Attorney Anna Irabor says she finds it hard to believe that anyone who lived under Babangida's rule would vote to put him back in power.

"If you ask me, I can only remember the times that we suffered," Irabor says, "Because of that, I do not really think he should come back.  I do not think he should come back.  Let him step aside.  I know he has some good parts in his regime, and those good parts, let him use it to advise those who are already showing their interest to come for the presidency."

Irabor says her choice is President Jonathan. "I am just looking at Jonathan as a person and as a Nigerian and as somebody who I really have great regard and respect for because of the short time he has been with us, the way he has ruled us and the way he has handled situations, that is the reason why I am saying that I prefer him," she said.

President Jonathan's bid upsets an informal power sharing agreement in the ruling party that rotates power between north and south every eight years.  Under that plan, the next Nigerian president should be from the north to finish out President Yar'Adua's term, instead of continuing with President Jonathan, who is from the south.

Ovie Joseph is a ruling party official from the southern Delta State.  He supports the president politically, but wonders how northerners will respond to his breaking the power-sharing deal. "The only thing that is bad in it if for himself indicating interest, forgetting the mutual understanding is not a good one," he says, "the gentlemen's understanding has to hold.  And that one makes you a good man."

Joseph says it is time of politically uncertainty between the mainly Muslim north and the predominantly Christian south. "As it is going now, the Christians are not sleeping.  And I know that the Muslims are not sleeping.  They are praying for the welfare of the country.  And I know by the special grace of God we will survive it," he said.

Ruling party primaries begin October 18.  Nigeria's electoral commission says it needs more time to register voters for the election itself and is looking to postpone presidential polls currently scheduled for January.

You May Like

Syrian Rebels Poised for Anti-Russia Collaboration

Forty-one insurgent groups issue joint statement vowing retaliation for Russian air offensives More

Political Maneuver Revives Export-Import Bank's Chances

Parliamentary tactic gets bill out of committee, but it faces opposition in the Senate More

Beijing Warns US on S. China Sea Patrols

Warning follows news reports Thursday that US military is planning to sail warships close to artificial islands Beijing has been aggressively building More

This forum has been closed.
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.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs