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

Photogallery Strong Words Start, May End, S. African Xenophobic Attacks

President Jacob Zuma publicly condemned rise in attacks on foreign nationals but critics say leadership has been less than welcoming to foreign residents More

Video Family Waits to Hear Charges Against Reporter Jailed in Iran

Reports in Iran say Jason Rezaian has been charged with espionage, but brother tells VOA indictment has not been made public More

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Action to Stabilize Libya

Amnesty International says multinational concerted humanitarian effort must be enacted to address crisis; decrepit boats continue to bring thousands of new arrivals daily 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.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs