News / Africa

Nigeria's New Acting President Calls for Unity

Nigeria's new acting president is calling for unity ten weeks after the nation's elected leader left the country for medical treatment. Lawmakers Tuesday made Vice President Goodluck Jonathan Nigeria's acting leader.

In a nationwide address, Acting President Jonathan called on all Nigerians to set aside religious and ethnic differences to work together for the common good.

"The events of the recent past have put to a test our collective resolve as a democratic nation," said Goodluck Jonathan. "I am delighted to know that our nation has demonstrated resilience and unity of purpose."

Nigeria's Senate and House of Representatives Tuesday both passed motions making Mr. Jonathan acting president.

He has been serving in that capacity since President Musa Yar'Adua left Nigeria in late November. But that was not official because the president did not write a letter to parliament notifying lawmakers of his absence.

He has still not written that letter. But the Senate and House chose to act based on a radio interview the president gave confirming that he is in Saudi Arabia for medical treatment.

Lagos State Senator Ganiyu Solomon says parliament responded to the wishes of a majority of Nigerians.

"It seems that we don't have the president around for 78 days, and there's a kind of logjam," said Ganiyu Solomon. "Somebody must take the initiative to come up with something that is acceptable to the whole lot of Nigerians. We felt the right thing, what they really want, is to have power given to the vice president as acting president. And we act accordingly."

Senator Yakubu Garba Lado is from President Yar'Adua's home state of Katsina. He says lawmakers have exceeded their power.

"We refuse to consider that interview as a written something," said Garba Lado. "So that will indicate there is some mischief behind it. I believe that it was wrong. And I know some Nigerians may decide to take us to court. And when we are challenged in a court of law, I believe we will be defeated because we do not have the power to do what we did today."

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson was in Abuja during the national assembly vote. Following a meeting with Mr. Jonathan, Carson said the Obama administration has always supported a constitutional resolution of the crisis.

"As a fellow democracy, the United States believes firmly in the values of democracy," said Johnnie Carson. "We think that these principles are also important in Nigeria, which is Africa's largest democracy and also a friend and a partner of the United States."

Political momentum shifted against the president last week when Nigeria's powerful state governors said a temporary transfer of authority would be in the nation's best interest.

Information Minister Dora Akunyili broke with the rest of the president's cabinet in calling for such a transfer of power after the cabinet twice passed resolutions saying Mr. Yar'Adua was fit to govern.

You May Like

US, China Have Dueling Definitions of Cybersecurity

Analysts say attribution or or proving that a particular individual or government is responsible for a hack, is a daunting task More

Snowden: I'd Go to Prison to Return to US

Former NSA contractor says he has not received a formal plea-deal offer from US officials, who consider him to be a traitor More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people More

This forum has been closed.
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.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs