News / Africa

Nigeria's Acting President Calls for Ruling Party Unity Amid Political Crisis

Nigeria's acting president is calling for ruling-party unity after the suspension of more than a dozen members who want to change the way the party chooses its candidate for next year's presidential election.  The party's chairman is facing criminal charges of corruption.

Chairman Vincent Ogbulafor says the would-be reformers were suspended from the People's Democratic Party because their refusal to meet with party leaders last week was, in his words, "aimed at ridiculing the party."

"Considering the grave nature of those against these members of the PDP reform forum, the national working committee resolves to suspend them from the party," said Vincent Ogbulafor.

Members of this reform forum want to make the selection of party candidates more transparent, which would likely weaken the influence of powerful state governors.  They also want chairman Ogbulafor dismissed because he is facing federal corruption charges.

Acting president Goodluck Jonathan is calling for party unity during what he says is a particularly challenging time for the PDP.

"People do things that sometimes they are supposed not to do," said Goodluck Jonathan. "People say things that they are supposed not to say.  And most especially, some of these statements that are put across. either through communication or text messages - some of them are true, some half-truths, but most of them are completely blanket lies."

Mr. Jonathan says Nigeria's political climate will only grow hotter as the election approaches, and he is calling on ruling party members to stay calm.

"I would plead with our party members that because probably people are thinking more of 2011 elections, a number of issues will come up," he said. "But whenever you hear some stories, take pains to find out [the truth] before you react."

There is considerable tension within the party about who will succeed President Umaru Yar'adua, who is too ill to finish his first term.

Ogbulafor says the nominee should be from the north, to complete the eight years promised to northern politicians under an informal power-sharing agreement that rotates the presidency between the mainly-Muslim north and largely-Christian south every two terms.

Acting President Jonathan is from the south, and he has not ruled out running next year.  Mr. Jonathan did not directly address the issue of his potential candidacy in remarks to party leaders, but he did warn that internal conflicts threaten the party's continued dominance of Nigerian politics.

"So we should not be tempted to divide among ourselves but work together," said Goodluck Jonathan. "In terms of political ambitions, every human being is free to aspire to any office in life.  But within this period, while we are doing that, we should do it in a way that will not overheat the polity."

Mr. Jonathan has not spoken publicly about the corruption charges facing party chairman Ogbulafor.  Aides say that would be inappropriate as the matter is still before the courts.

A 16-count indictment by Nigeria's Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses Commission alleges that Ogbulfaor was part of a group that conspired to steal public funds through phony contracts in 2001.

Ogbulafor says the charges are without merit.

"Let me, with all sense of responsibility, state that I am innocent of the allegation," he said.

He will be arraigned before Abuja's High Court on Monday.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs