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

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL 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.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid