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Africa Reacts to Obama's Choice of Senator Biden as a Running Mate


The world, particularly Africa is following this year's U.S. presidential campaign with interest not only because the United States is a super powers economically and militarily, but because of the Africa roots of presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. So what is Africa saying about the selection of Senator Joe Biden as Obama's vice presidential running mate?

Kabiru Mato chairs the political science department at the University of Abuja. He told VOA Africa hopes the selection of Senator Biden would increase the Democrats' chances of winning in November.

"To be very sincere, I think a lot of Nigerians and people all over Africa imagined that he (Obama) was going to nominate Hilary Clinton. This basically as a result of many factors one of which is the tradition in American politics where you have very serious competition in party primaries, the winner normally carries along the loser so that they can forge a common front, reassure the unity of the party and party members with a view to facing the opponent in general election," he said.

Professor Mato compared Obama's selection of Biden to the choice of now Vice President Goodluck Jonathan as running mate for then Nigerian ruling party candidate Umaru Yar'Adua. He said the criteria used in the Nigeria selection process are different from those used by Senator Obama.

"I agree with you that most likely Senator Obama must have considered the integrity, the political credentials as well as other factors in nominating his running mate. But the choice in Nigeria was not exactly the same thing because here was a very contrite agenda where the primary itself was not free and fair, where the sitting president unilaterally decided who was an aspirant, and at the end of it, after the presidential candidate was nominated the issue of running mate was announced from the presidential villa. So it was not a free political intercourse," Mato said.

He said there are a lot of factors and configurations that lead to alignment and realignment of political forces in the Nigerian case.

"There is the regional issue; there is the ethnic issue; there's also the religious issue. And in the case of Goodluck Jonathan, I think one of the most fundamental consideration had to do with the Niger Delta crisis, especially if we place it within the spectrum of the aggression and the violence that has been taking place by either the youth of the region and those who desire to steal oil from the region," Mato said.

Mato said the world particularly Africa is following this year's U.S. presidential campaign with enormous interest not only because the United States is a super power economically and militarily but most importantly because of the Africa roots of Senator Obama.