News / Africa

Nigerian President Launches Election Bid

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan (C), accompanied by his wife Patience (R), Vice President Namadi Sambo, waves to the crowd before their campaign declaration in Abuja on September 18, 2010.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan (C), accompanied by his wife Patience (R), Vice President Namadi Sambo, waves to the crowd before their campaign declaration in Abuja on September 18, 2010.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has kicked off his election campaign with a rally in the capital, Abuja.

President Jonathan says he is running for the ruling-party nomination because Nigeria is going through a great period of change, and he says he is the one to lead the country through that change. "The past four months that I have served as the president of Nigeria have opened my eyes to the vast potentials of this office as a potent instrument for the transformation of our country," he said.

The president says he has already helped Nigeria's ailing textile industry, is protecting deposits in previously-failing banks and is reducing fuel shortages while improving the supply of electricity.

President Jonathan's bid upsets an informal power sharing agreement within the ruling party that says the next Nigerian president should be from the north. That deal rotates power between north and south every eight years. President Jonathan took power following this year's death of President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, so the agreement entitles northern politicians to finish out what would have been President Yar'Adua's second term instead of continuing on with President Jonathan, who is from the south.

Before Saturday's campaign launch, the president's campaign director Dalhatu Tafida told reporters that Mr. Jonathan intends to spend only four more years in power to complete the Yar'Adua term. But he would not commit to Mr. Jonathan not running for re-election in 2015, saying for now, Nigerians should give him four years to see how he performs and then decide whether he should continue.

Mr. Jonathan says he has waited until now to declare his candidacy because the atmosphere surrounding President Yar'Adua's death was too politically charged.

"From the moment I was sworn in as president, I came under intense pressure to make a declaration concerning my political future but I declined to do so because it would have immediately distracted us from the little we have achieved so far. As president and leader of this government, I decided not to play partisan politics above the immediate needs and priorities of our people. I therefore told Nigerians to give me time to concentrate on my work and at the appropriate time I will make a public statement on my political future after wide-spread consultation. Those consultations have now been concluded," he said.

President Jonathan faces several formidable challengers for the ruling-party nomination, among them former vice president Atiku Abubakar and former military ruler Ibrahim Babangida, who used the same Abuja parade ground to launch his campaign Wednesday.

President Jonathan not only enjoys the considerable power of incumbency. Since taking power, he has also named a new cabinet, a new head of the ruling party, a new head of the electoral commission, and new chiefs of security forces.

The president was joined at his campaign launch by more than two thirds of Nigeria's powerful state governors. Among them were several northern governors, including Bauchi State governor Isa Yuguda who told the crowd that Nigeria's northeast provinces will rally around the president and deliver the highest number of votes. It was an especially prominent endorsement given that Yuguda himself was once seen as a presidential contender.

The ruling People's Democratic Party has won all three presidential elections since Nigeria's return to civilian rule 11 years ago. The party says it will choose its nominee during three days of nationwide polling beginning October 18. It plans to present a single candidate to the nation on October 23 for presidential elections scheduled for January 22.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
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 Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
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 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 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.

VOA Blogs