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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid