News / Africa

Nigeria's Jonathan Told Not to Run in 2015

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan arrives for service for former South African President Nelson Mandela, First National Bank Stadium, Johannesburg, Dec. 10, 2013.
Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan arrives for service for former South African President Nelson Mandela, First National Bank Stadium, Johannesburg, Dec. 10, 2013.
Reuters
One of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan's predecessors and mentors has turned against him, penning a scathing denunciation that could deepen divisions in the ruling party and potentially embolden Jonathan's rivals.
 
Former president Olusegun Obasanjo, once Jonathan's principle sponsor, wrote in a letter that it would be “fatally morally flawed” for Jonathan to seek re-election in 2015.
 
Obasanjo, 76, lays down a damning appraisal of 56-year-old Jonathan's leadership, chiding him on his performance on everything from corruption and insecurity to the economy, in the 18-page letter entitled “before it is too late.” The letter was seen by Reuters on Thursday.
 
The former president even likens 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 the looting of funds from Africa's biggest oil producer.
 
“Nigeria is bleeding and the hemorrhage must be stopped,” Obasanjo says.
 
Open criticism from such a high-profile figure in the ruling party may encourage politicians to defect to a newly-united opposition and give greater confidence to potential rivals considering standing against Jonathan for the party leadership.
 
The presidency responded by saying the comments by Obasanjo were “reckless, baseless, unjustifiable and indecorous,” adding that the letter had been deliberately leaked to the media.
 
The potency of Obasanjo's criticisms and the public nature of the spat add to a weight of embarrassment for Jonathan, coming days after another leaked letter, this time from the central bank, opened an investigation into missing oil funds.
 
Nigeria's Senate on Wednesday launched a probe into the letter to Jonathan from the central bank, which said the state-oil company NNPC failed to account for $50 billion of revenue from 18-months of oil sales.
 
Africa's second-biggest economy and top oil exporter is growing as an investment destination but reports of violence, corruption and political instability often tarnish its image.
 
General Obasanjo, who was president for eight years until 2007, was a strong influence in bringing Jonathan to power but their relationship has since soured.
 
The former president says Jonathan promised prior to his election victory in 2011 that he wouldn't run again. Jonathan has previously denied making such promises and he has not said whether he will contest the 2015 elections.
 
Religion
 
Jonathan's assumed ambition to seek re-election is a thorny issue in religiously-mixed Nigeria, where alternating the presidency between the majority Christian south and the mostly Muslim north has been considered an unwritten rule.
 
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.
 
Jonathan's campaign in 2011 angered many northerners who felt it was still their turn to rule for what would have been Yar'Adua's second term. If Jonathan runs again in 2015 it could create further animosity.
 
“It would be fatally morally flawed” to run in 2015, Obasanjo, a Yoruba Christian from the southwest, said in his letter. He advised Jonathan not to listen to “sycophantic” advisers and to heed the warning signs in North Africa.
 
“When the consequences come, those who have wrongly advised you will not be there to help carry the can. Egypt must teach some lesson,” he wrote, referring to a revolution and upheaval there.
 
Obasanjo's own reputation was tarnished towards the end of his presidency by attempts to make changes to the constitution, which would have allowed him to run for a third term.
 
Jonathan has brushed off several corruption scandals and personal attacks in the past but opposition is mounting.
 
Last month, several powerful governors defected from Jonathan and Obasanjo's ruling People's Democratic Party and joined the All Progressives Congress, a coalition opposition formed in February which now poses the biggest threat to the PDP since the end of military rule in 1999.
 
The PDP still controls a strong majority in the national assembly and has the biggest power base and financial muscle.
 
Jonathan is also struggling to quell an insurgency from Islamist sect Boko Haram in the north and rampant oil theft in his home Niger Delta region, which is straining the economy.
 
Every Nigerian president has had to cope with insecurity, governance and human rights problems, and each has been hit by eye-popping corruption scandals. Obasanjo thinks the situation is worse than ever; Jonathan says it’s on the way to recovery.

You May Like

US Gives Malaysia Questionable Upgrade in Human Trafficking Ranks

Malaysia’s upgrade seen as removing barrier to country’s participation in the US-led 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership More

Turkey, US Try to Establish Buffer Despite Differences

Coalition airstrikes in proposed zone would aim to drive out Islamic extremists, allowing targeted area to come under sway of anti-Assad rebels More

Video US: Millions Exploited by Vast Fortunes of Human Trafficking

State Department's annual report calls exploitation 'modern slavery,' brutalizing girls, women into prostitution and forcing men, women and children into low-wage jobs across the globe More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Don from: Nigeria
December 13, 2013 11:02 PM
In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is the King. GEJ's performance so far is miles ahead that of past Nigerian leaders Obasanjo inclusive.

Obasanjo's lust for power and relevance has finally come to an end. Baba is dead! Long live the King Jonathan.

..... and King Jonathan gave the Otta farmer the biblical Naman's treatment. Afterwards Nigeria lived happy ever after.

by: MuhammadSaniDukura from: NorthEast(sokoto)
December 13, 2013 5:50 PM
That is a big show. Internal war( PDP)

by: Chali from: Abuja,Nigeria
December 13, 2013 1:22 PM
President Goodluck Jonathan has a constitutional right to run and he should not be denied of that chance to serve Nigeria by Obasanjo's gangsterism or his fellow corrupt northern army Generals.

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
December 13, 2013 9:43 AM
What VOA cherishes is praise singing for corrupt officials. From the way VOA has stratified comments it carries on these pages - first, just after this publication hit public eyes yesterday, a VOA anchor (who no doubt is a paid agent of Aso Rock) swung into action and hid it from public reach as it quickly disappeared from pubic view, only to reappear today with comments in favor of Jonathan - shows VOA implicated in fostering corruption in Nigeria. Here is to say it to your face: VOA, you are in support of corrupt and are part of the corruption in Nigeria. If you want to get comments from readers, then publish them so that we see what people are saying. If not needed, then remove the comments box. How frustrating it is when one takes his time to comment and you simply throw it away because you are supporting a corrupt officer. Obasanjo is a Nigeria just as Jonathan is, and both have equal rights to criticize and be criticized, and Nigerians like me have right to say our mind, unless you are the mouth piece of the rulers only. Also to tell you that I have read scathing comments on these pages before, so what is the parameter for being parochial and choosy here? Except you are guilty of the "extreme hate" you claim to avoid.

by: Anonymous
December 13, 2013 9:41 AM
Like father like son,Like Obasenjo like Jonathan.

by: Simon from: yola
December 13, 2013 7:21 AM
Jonathan has turned deaf to corruption and that makes him not a serious president.

by: Kanu David from: Kano
December 13, 2013 6:31 AM
Birds of the same feathers....!

by: Okeke from: Cameroun
December 13, 2013 2:23 AM
Obasanjo and the northerners want to tarnish jonathans image. They want to barre him from running for second term, all this because jonathan is from the minority tribe. If this president is from the north, all this accusation will never come. The north has rule this nation more than any section in naija. Jonathan is the best thing that ever happen to nigeria. The north and obasanjo should go and die. God bless jonathan goodluck.

by: Chidimma from: Warri
December 12, 2013 11:14 PM
OBJ is jealous cos he was not given d chance to run for d 3rd tenure which he proposed during his time.

by: Oyim from: Ebonyi
December 12, 2013 12:38 PM
We are in trouble in this country.if people like GEJ can not rule us well then we need God himself to better this country.but is it true that GEj can do this ? But can OBJ lie against him?then how can we find the truth.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Wini
X
July 28, 2015 12:21 AM
The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Obama Encourages Kenya to Fix Cultures of Corruption, Discrimination

President Barack Obama bid farewell to Kenya Sunday with a major speech at as stadium outside the capital Nairobi where he called on Kenyans to change the cultures of corruption and discrimination that can hold society back. VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video California Towns Welcome Special Olympics Athletes

Cities and towns in Southern California are greeting thousands of athletes who are arriving for Special Olympics, a competition for people with intellectual disabilities. The games will run from July 25th through August 2nd. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, where athletes from Namibia, Singapore and Tanzania got a rousing welcome from local residents.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.
Video

Video Hoverbike Flying Toward Reality

Another long-standing dream of many technological inventors is quickly approaching reality: U.S.- and British-based firms are cooperating in the development of an individual flying platform they call a hoverbike. They say it may revolutionize the concept of flying, including in the U.S. military. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video As Japan Expands Defense Role, Protests Follow

The Japanese government is moving forward with a controversial security bill that would authorize the military to fight abroad for the first time since World War II. Leaders say it is critical to defend against rising threats from China and North Korea. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Japan on the big changes ahead, and the opposition they are drawing.
Video

Video Replacing Poppies with Coffee in Myanmar

The remote mountains of Myanmar’s Shan state are home to the second-largest opium-producing region in the world. After a drop during the 2000s, production surged in the past eight years to feed an increasing demand for heroin in China. But farmers are now making less on the crop, and the U.N. is hoping many will make the switch to growing coffee. Daniel de Carteret reports for VOA from Taunggyi.

VOA Blogs