News / Africa

    Nigeria's National Assembly Approves Vice President

    Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan delivers a speech in Port Harcourt on 14 May 2010
    Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan delivers a speech in Port Harcourt on 14 May 2010

    Multimedia

    Audio

    Nigerian lawmakers approved Muslim politician, Namadi Sambo, as the new vice president of Africa's most populous nation Tuesday.  President Goodluck Jonathan's choice of a deputy with little nationwide experience raises speculation that Mr. Jonathan will run in next year's presidential election and challenge an informal power-sharing deal between Muslims and Christians in the country.

    There were several high-profile candidates for vice president, including Nigeria's national security advisor, the secretary to the Government of the Federation and its senate president. Any of those men would have quickly become the ruling-party frontrunner for next year's vote, because an unofficial regional power sharing deal precludes President Jonathan from running because he is from southern Nigeria.

    But Mr. Jonathan nominated Kaduna state governor Namadi Sambo -- a quieter, less-obviously ambitious politician with a solid record of financial management and little nationwide experience.

    Mohammed Namadi Sambo
    Mohammed Namadi Sambo

    That has added to speculation that Mr. Jonathan may challenge the regional power sharing deal and run for president himself.

    "The man who is best qualified to serve this country should be elected president, irrespective of where he is from," said Social activist Chukwunyere Onyinye.

    Onyinye is from Nigeria's southern Delta State. He says politicians across the country have manipulated the north/south divide for their own gain.

    "The people you brand as northerners are actually a clique, a clique of power hegemony that have not even held well for the generality of the people of northern Nigeria," he added.  "And, in the south, those who also portend or purport to speak for the people of southern Nigeria do not honestly represent the interests of those people. So broadly, this country is one."

    One of the reasons this power-sharing deal came into place was because southern politicians long complained of political dominance by the north.

    Musa Elayo Abdullahi is a former minister of state for justice and a ruling-party leader from the north.  He says southern leaders should not complain if Mr. Jonathan breaks the deal now, before the north is allowed to complete what would have been President Yar'Adua's second term.

    "So what we have now is not a complete process," said Abdullahi.  "If today that is aborted, then it simply means that tomorrow nobody will complain of political domination. Both the north and southern part of the country have enough mature leaders to run for the presidency of this country. The presidency of the country should be open to every Nigerian and Nigerians should elect whoever they want to govern over them, irrespective of where he comes from."

    Political scientist Isitoah Ozoemene says Nigeria's informal power-sharing agreement denies voters the right to choose among the best candidates.

    "The issue of zoning is not a very proper thing to do," said Ozoemene.  "That is the truth of the matter. The issue of saying a particular candidate who should be in government, at a particular point in time, must come from one part of the country leaves us with not the best set of persons."

    Nigeria's religious and ethnic divisions are a political reality. If President Jonathan decides to run, ruling-party member Ovie Joseph believes he will choose a northern Muslim as his running mate, to balance the ticket.

    "Today now things like that have been happening. When you have the Christian at the head, you have the Muslim at the other side. When you have the Muslim at the head, you have the Christian on the other side. I think that is the only way that people feel the question is balanced," explained Joseph.

    If President Jonathan wins the ruling-party's nomination for 2011, he will hard to beat. That is somewhat easier now that he gets to choose a new ruling-party chairman.

    But if the party chooses a northern nominee, in keeping with the regional power sharing agreement, President Jonathan could still run for another party.  Or, pending electoral reforms, as an independent.

    That would be considerably more difficult, not only because he would be running against the ruling party.  Northern Nigeria is more homogenous and much easier to organize behind a single candidate.  Southern Nigeria is far more fractious and Mr. Jonathan would likely split that vote with several other candidates.

    You May Like

    Russia Sees Brexit Impact Widespread but Temporary

    Officials, citizens react to Britain’s vote to exit European Union with mix of pleasure, understanding and concern

    Obama Encourages Entrepreneurs to Seek Global Interconnection

    President tells entrepreneurs at global summit at Stanford University to find mentors, push ahead with new ideas on day after Britain voters decide to exit EU

    Video Some US Gun Owners Support Gun Control

    Defying the stereotype, Dave Makings says he'd give up his assault rifle for a comprehensive program to reduce gun violence

    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.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora