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

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' 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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid