News / Africa

VP Choice Opens Way for Nigeria's Jonathan to Run in 2011

Nigeria's national assembly Tuesday begins consideration of a new vice president.  President Goodluck Jonathan's choice of a deputy with little nationwide experience opens the way for him to run for president next year, if he decides to challenge an informal power-sharing deal.

There were several high-profile candidates for vice president, including Nigeria's national security advisor, the secretary to the Government of the Federation and its senate president. Any of those men would have quickly become the ruling-party frontrunner for next year's vote, because an unofficial regional power sharing deal precludes President Jonathan from running because he is from southern Nigeria.

But Mr. Jonathan nominated Kaduna state governor Namadi Sambo - a quieter, less-obviously ambitious politician with a solid record of financial management and little nationwide experience.

That has added to speculation that Mr. Jonathan may challenge the regional power sharing deal and run for president himself.

"The man who is best qualified to serve this country should be elected president, irrespective of where he is from," said social activist Chukwunyere Onyinye, who is from Nigeria's southern Delta State.

He says politicians across the country have manipulated the north/south divide for their own gain.

"The people you brand as northerners are actually a clique, a clique of power hegemony that have not even held well for the generality of the people of northern Nigeria.  And, in the south, those who also portend or purport to speak for the people of southern Nigeria do not honestly represent the interests of those people," he said.  "So broadly, this country is one."

One of the reasons this power-sharing deal came into place was because southern politicians long complained of political dominance by the north.

Musa Elayo Abdullahi is a former minister of state for justice and a ruling-party leader from the north.  He says southern leaders should not complain if Mr. Jonathan breaks the deal now, before the north is allowed to complete what would have been President Yar'Adua's second term.

"So what we have now is not a complete process.  If today that is aborted, then it simply means that tomorrow nobody will complain of political domination," said Abdullahi.  "Both the north and southern part of the country have enough mature leaders to run for the presidency of this country. The presidency of the country should be open to every Nigerian and Nigerians should elect whoever they want to govern over them, irrespective of where he comes from."

Political scientist Isitoah Ozoemene says Nigeria's informal power-sharing agreement denies voters the right to choose among the best candidates.

"The issue of zoning is not a very proper thing to do. That is the truth of the matter," he said. "The issue of saying a particular candidate who should be in government, at a particular point in time, must come from one part of the country leaves us with not the best set of persons."

Nigeria's religious and ethnic divisions are a political reality. If President Jonathan decides to run, ruling-party member Ovie Joseph believes he will choose a northern Muslim as his running mate, to balance the ticket.

"Today now things like that have been happening. When you have the Christian at the head, you have the Muslim at the other side. When you have the Muslim at the head, you have the Christian on the other side," he said.  "I think that is the only way that people feel the question is balanced."

If President Jonathan wins the ruling-party's nomination for 2011, he will hard to beat. That is somewhat easier now that he gets to choose a new ruling-party chairman.

But if the party chooses a northern nominee, in keeping with the regional power sharing agreement, President Jonathan could still run for another party.  Or, pending electoral reforms, as an independent.

That would be considerably more difficult, not only because he would be running against the ruling party.  Northern Nigeria is more homogenous and much easier to organize behind a single candidate.  Southern Nigeria is far more fractious and Mr. Jonathan would likely split that vote with several other candidates.

You May Like

Report: $60 Billion Leaves Africa Illegally Each Year

Report by a joint UN and African Union panel says African countries need to take concrete measures to stop billions of dollars from illegally being moved out of continent each year More

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Some analysts say Russian Tu-95 bombers were flying near British airspace to warn Britain about an inquest into a murdered Russian spy More

Mugabe Defends Image Amid Controversy at Close of AU Summit

He rejects concerns about how the West might perceive his leadership, saying he's focused on African development More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relationsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
January 31, 2015 10:50 PM
Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Spy Murder Probe Likely to Further Strain British-Russian Relations

Relations between Russia and the West are set to become even more strained amid an inquiry in London into the murder of a former Russian spy. Lawyers at the inquiry accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of directing a "mafia state." Meanwhile, Royal Air Force fighters intercepted Russian bombers close to British airspace this week, prompting authorities to summon Moscow’s ambassador. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Neighborhood Divided Over Conflict

People in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk districts find themselves squarely in the path of advancing Russian-backed rebels, who want to take back the territory they held at the beginning of the conflict last year. Many local residents are afraid, but others would welcome the change, even when a rebel shell lands in their neighborhood. From the Luhansk district, 15 kilometers from where the Ukrainian government marks the front line, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid