News / Africa

    Nigerians Pin Future Fortunes on Goodluck Jonathan

    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

    Multimedia

    Audio
    • Interview with Ahmadou Bello University Professor Sadiq Abubakar

    Vice President Goodluck Jonathan has assumed the reins of power as Nigeria's acting leader.  With the prolonged absence of President Umaru Yar’Adua, who is receiving treatment for heart and kidney conditions in Saudi Arabia, Mr. Jonathan won recognition from Nigeria’s cabinet to realize the formal transfer of power, after receiving approval from both houses of Nigeria’s national assembly on Tuesday.

    Before he was Vice President, Goodluck Jonathan served as governor of southwest Nigeria's Bayelsa State
    Before he was Vice President, Goodluck Jonathan served as governor of southwest Nigeria's Bayelsa State

    Some lawmakers continue to question whether parliament’s approval of motions for the succession is constitutional.  Political science Professor Sadiq Abubakar of the Ahmadou Bello University in Kaduna State observes that regardless of the outcome of a potential legal battle, parliament’s approval of the transfer is occurring under the most uncommon of circumstances.

     “They have the constitutional right to remove the president, to impeach him.  They didn’t do that.  So they depended on the motions of the two houses, citing first what is called the Doctrine of Necessity.  They should have gone to court to actually give declaration of this Doctrine of Necessity, a situation which is not foreseen by the constitution, and which has given way to a vacuum,” he advised.

    Professor Abubakar says that since so much power has been concentrated around the influence of African presidents, Nigerian cabinet ministers have been very reluctant to take the initiative to advise President Yar’Adua of his responsibility to relinquish power, given the frailty of his condition, which has kept him hospitalized far away from Nigeria for almost an unprecedented four months.

    “Men of honor, ministers are supposed to advise the president, to tell him the right thing, and nobody was willing to do that,” said Abubakar.

    Ultimately, it was Information Minister Dora Akunyili, who announced cabinet ministers’ acceptance of the National Assembly’s decision and pledged the cabinet’s support to Mr. Jonathan.  While admitting that if the Nigerian judiciary gets involved with an intention to reverse the transition, Professor Abubakar says they have the ability to act swiftly, but he does not think they will do so.

    “Nigerians judicially have not actually performed creditably in this matter.  They give all sorts of conflicting statements with room for all sorts of rumors.  People begin to say that ‘they are in their pockets of some people who are very close to the seat of power, who want the state to remain the way it has been’,” he notes.

    Nigeria's Acting President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja. The country's parliament has named Jonathan acting leader while President Umaru Yar'Adua remains hospitalized in Saudi Arabia (November 2009 file photo)
    Nigeria's Acting President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja. The country's parliament has named Jonathan acting leader while President Umaru Yar'Adua remains hospitalized in Saudi Arabia (November 2009 file photo)

    On the other hand, Abubakar credits Mr. Jonathan, who had been seen as an unassertive southern governor of Bayelsa State three years ago when he was selected as President Yar’Adua’s running mate, for pursuing an effective transition that is designed to convince Nigeria’s public that his leadership should be taken seriously.

    “My reading of what President Jonathan has done, the cabinet reshuffle which he has made, indicates to me that he thinks that President Yar’Adua cannot come back to assume the reins of power…He did what he did in order to tell Nigerians that ‘I’m in charge. I’m now the lord of the manor.’  And he had to do that in order to show people that there’s no fighting in the country, there’s an acting president, and that he’s ready to run the country,” he said.

    One of Goodluck Jonathan’s first moves as President was to replace an unpopular justice minister, Michael Aondoakaa, and demote him to a relatively insignificant post of minister of special duties. The Ahmadou Bello University professor says that Jonathan has given Nigerians every indication that he is here to stay in power, even with the impending return home by the country’s reclusive, but recovering president.

    You May Like

    Russia's Expat Community Shrinking

    Russia's troubled economy, tensions with West have led hundreds of thousands of foreigners to leave for better opportunities

    Accelerating the Push Against Islamic State: What Will Work?

    Experts stress need to step up military action, address root causes of Muslims' disaffection, counter IS social media messages in a massive way

    Experts: N. Korean Abductions Sought to Halt Brain Drain

    Pyongyang abducted about 3,800 South Koreans and more than a dozen Japanese nationals in late 1970s

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees with Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees with Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.