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

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

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact 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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
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 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.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs