News / Africa

Nigerian Leader Says Predecessor Harmed National Security

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan speaks during an interview with Reuters in New York, September 26, 2012.
Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan speaks during an interview with Reuters in New York, September 26, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday accused one of his mentors and predecessors, Olusegun Obasanjo, of stirring up ethnic hatred against him and of threatening national security.

Obasanjo, twice president and a powerful political godfather who nurtured Jonathan's own rise to power, has progressively fallen out with the current president. In a letter leaked earlier this month he said it would be “morally flawed” for Jonathan to seek a second term in a 2015 poll.

“Your letter is clearly a threat to national security as it may deliberately or inadvertently set the stage for subversion,” Jonathan told Obasanjo in a reply published in local media.

“It appears that your letter was designed to incite Nigerians from other geopolitical zones against me and also calculated to promote ethnic disharmony,” he said.

The open criticism from Obasanjo, one of Nigeria's most high-profile figures, has deepened a rift within the ruling party over Jonathan's assumed plan to seek another term at the helm of Africa's second biggest economy and top oil exporter.

FILE - Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo speaks to journalists at a news conference in Dakar, Senegal, Feb. 25, 2012.FILE - Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo speaks to journalists at a news conference in Dakar, Senegal, Feb. 25, 2012.
x
FILE - Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo speaks to journalists at a news conference in Dakar, Senegal, Feb. 25, 2012.
FILE - Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo speaks to journalists at a news conference in Dakar, Senegal, Feb. 25, 2012.
One week after Obasanjo's letter, some 37 lawmakers defected to the opposition coalition, giving it a slim majority in the lower house of parliament and delivering a blow to any re-election bid by Jonathan.

Jonathan has not said he will run, but his supporters note that he has a constitutional right to. That has upset ruling party northerners, who think it violates an unwritten rule that power should rotate each two terms between the largely Christian south and mostly Muslim north.

Jonathan is a southern Christian - as is Obasanjo - and he became president in 2010 after his predecessor, Umaru Yar'Adua, a northern Muslim, died just three years into his first term.

The more divisive the election race, the more money is likely to be spent fighting it at a time when Nigeria's fiscal position normally slips, and the greater the risk of violence.

Criticism

In his criticism of Jonathan's record, Obasanjo echoed complaints often made by the president's detractors, for instance that he has failed to deal with an Islamist insurgency in the north by treating it purely as a security issue instead of tackling the underlying causes of poverty and isolation.

Jonathan retorted on Monday that his government has invested in alleviating poverty in the north, focusing on education, including the creation of nine northern universities.

The former president likened the current situation to the tenure of General Sani Abacha, whose five years of military rule in the 1990s were marred by human rights abuses and massive looting of funds from Africa's biggest oil producer.

Jonathan dismissed as “baseless” Obasanjo's allegation that he was “clandestinely acquiring weapons” as Abacha once did, in case he cannot secure another term of office by peaceful means.

The president also defended his record on corruption, noting it had flourished during both of Obasanjo's stints in office.

“The seed of corruption in this country was planted a long time ago, but we are doing all we can to drastically reduce [it],” Jonathan said, dismissing as “misconstrued” talk that billions of dollars have gone missing from the state oil firm.

Jonathan denied being biased in favor of his Ijaw ethnic group, a common criticism repeated by Obasanjo.

Despite the current discord in Nigeria's political elite, most analysts believe Jonathan would win the vote if he chooses to run, albeit with a weaker mandate.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid