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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid