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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact 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.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs