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

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office 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.
Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deali
X
July 07, 2015 12:02 PM
If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs