News / Africa

Nigerian Lawmakers Defect in New Blow to Jonathan

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan (C) arrives for the service for former South African President Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Dec. 10, 2013.Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan (C) arrives for the service for former South African President Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Dec. 10, 2013.
x
Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan (C) arrives for the service for former South African President Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Dec. 10, 2013.
Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan (C) arrives for the service for former South African President Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Dec. 10, 2013.
Reuters
Thirty-seven Nigerian lawmakers have defected to the main opposition coalition, giving it a slim majority in the lower house of parliament, in a further blow to President Goodluck Jonathan's 2015 re-election bid.
   
The move follows the defection of five powerful governors last month to the opposition All Progressive Congress (APC), and a scathing denunciation of Jonathan by former president Olusegun Obasanjo that has emboldened dissenters.
    
"We the undersigned members of the House of Representatives elected under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), wish to inform you that we have joined the APC," the members of parliament said in a letter dated Wednesday.
    
With the move, the PDP now has 171 members in the lower house, while the APC has 172, although the ruling PDP issued a statement urging the speaker of parliament to strip the defectors of their seats. It was not clear if this would happen.
    
The PDP has been in power since shortly after the end of military rule in 1998, but it has been riven by internal squabbles centered on Jonathan's assumed intention to run for another term in office in polls expected in 16 months.
    
Many northerners say his running again would violate an unwritten PDP rule that power should rotate between the largely Muslim north and mostly Christian south every two terms.
    
Jonathan, a southern Christian, was vice president and came to power when President Umaru Yar'Adua, a northern Muslim, died in May 2010, three years into his first term.
    
Despite the defections, most analysts expect Jonathan will win the vote if he chooses to run, albeit with a weaker mandate. But the tighter the race, the more money is likely to be spent fighting it at a time when Nigeria's fiscal position traditionally worsens as leaders seek to secure votes.

More to come?

Reuters has seen a request for a court order preventing the lawmakers from being stripped of their seats as a result of the defection. Twenty-two ruling party senators had their names on the plea, suggesting they too planned to defect, although they were not immediately available to comment.
    
Jonathan has come under fire for his record on tackling Islamist insurgency in the northeast and on fighting corruption, an issue that was highlighted by Obasanjo.
    
In his letter, leaked last week, the 76-year-old former leader chided Jonathan, 20 years younger, and wrote that it would be "fatally, morally flawed" for him to seek re-election in 2015.
    
He likened the corruption on his watch to that under military dictator General Sani Abacha, whose rule was marred by looting of funds from Africa's biggest oil producer.
    
The presidency rejected the comments as baseless.
    
Diplomats, politicians and newspaper columnists were disappointed when the  president granted a pardon to ally Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, a former state governor from Jonathan's oil-producing home state of Bayelsa, who was convicted of stealing millions of dollars of public money.
    
The Senate is investigating billions of dollars that the state oil company has failed to remit to the government, although the central bank said the figure was $12 billion on Wednesday, less than the $50 billion initially estimated.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
December 20, 2013 9:36 AM
Blow refers to a situation where votes are counted, matter and .... But in a situation where it is the piper and the tune to be played, the masses account for nothing. If you like let it be only Jonathan voting for himself, he will still win if he chooses to. I have written these things many times here and VOA continues to throw it away, but whether VOA likes it or not, I will continue to hackney it to the hearing of everyone that nothing matters to the man up there when it comes to election - which is merely playing to the gallery - for the results are determined before the voting.

It's not like the polls that show public opinion out there; the unpopular candidates win the elections if they are connected to the "winning party". PDP to which Jonathan belongs is that winning party in Nigeria whether they are liked and voted for or not. At the end it is those who defected that receive the blow. When Jonathan hears from his political godfathers and they tell him go, sorry it means those defectors will live to regret their action. And before you say goodluck, many of them have returned to the party. They know it, perhaps they want to try their luck in changing the status quo. The name of the game is CORRUPTION.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
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 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 US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of 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.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs