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

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
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.
Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syriai
November 26, 2015 5:21 AM
Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs