Newscast Media LAGOS—Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan faced another setback
on Thursday when a close political ally stepped aside. Nigerians are divided over the
implications, and are also concerned that Goodluck may be ignoring an unwritten rule.
Bamanga Tukur resigned as chairman of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on
Wednesday. His departure was a key demand by President Goodluck Jonathan’s
opponents inside the party.
Jonathan is accused, among other things, of ignoring an unwritten rule that
presidential candidates rotate between Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north and the majority
Christian south. Jonathan, the incumbent president, comes from the south.
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Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday condemned the bloody terrorist attacks in northeast Yobe State that claimed more than 40 lives. Speaking in a televised media chat in Abuja, the nation’s capital city, President Jonathan extended sincere condolences to the families of those who lost their loved ones in the dastardly attack.
The Nigerian leader said the apparent objective of the criminal and unpatriotic elements and forces behind the attack is to set back the progress the administration has made in the fight against terrorism in the country.
“It is obvious that these people do not mean well for Nigeria and its unity and development,” he said.
Medical Director of the Damaturu Specialist Hospital Garba Fika confirmed that 40 students of the College of Agriculture at Gujba in Yobe State were killed by gunmen in the early hours of Sunday.
Garba said this when Governor Ibrahim Gaidam of Yobe visited the hospital to inspect the wounded and the corpses of students deposited at the mortuary. He said five students including three with fractures, one with bullet wound and another with abdominal injury were receiving treatment at the hospital.
Earlier, the governor appealed to the federal government and security chiefs to take urgent steps towards ending the frequent attacks and killings of innocent people in Borno and Yobe.
Gaidam made the appeal while inspecting the remains of 40 students of College of Agriculture deposited at the mortuary of Specialists’ Hospital, Damaturu.
The governor described as highly alarming, the number of lives being lost to insurgents in the two states, warning that anyone traveling on the Damaturu to Maiduguri highway, was taking a huge risk. He urged the newly established Seven Division of the Nigerian Army to intensify surveillance of all flash points in the two states, to flush out the insurgents.
Newscast Media LAGOS—Since seven functionaries of the governing People’s Democratic Party (PDP) stormed out of a party convention at the end of August and set up their own party, politics in Nigeria have been in disarray.
The PDP has been in power continuously since the end of the military dictatorship in 1998. Now it appears to be falling apart and the influence of President Goodluck Jonathan is dwindling. The reason is the upcoming presidential elections in the oil-rich West African nation, due in 2015, for which major players are moving into position.
The seven rebels are, with one exception, governors of federal states in the predominantly Muslim north. Together they represent just over 20 percent of the Nigerian electorate and are, therefore, an important electoral factor for President Jonathan.
The rebels accuse the president of not sticking to the rules. Under an unwritten law, top political positions alternate every other legislature period between the mainly Muslim north and the mainly Christian south. Jonathan comes from the south. He became president in 2010 after the unexpected death of President Umar Yar’Adua, a northerner. One year later an election confirmed Jonathan in office. That means he is coming to the end of his second term, say his opponents.
But the president seems to have every intention of running again in 2015. The rebel governors want to bring pressure to bear on him to respect the traditional way of doing things, says political scientist and analyst Garba Umar Kari from the University of Abuja in the Nigerian capital.
Up to now, with more than 60 percent, Jonathan’s PDP had a comfortable majority in the Nigerian Governors’ Forum. Now it has the backing of less than half of the 36 governors. This is not the first time there has been a power struggle within the PDP. But never before has one wing come out so strongly against the head of state and Jonathan’s hold on power could now be seriously at risk.
Jonathan’s critics also say he has done nothing to reduce poverty in Nigeria.
Jonathan has not yet made an official statement on whether he plans to run for a further term in office. However, observers say he is bringing his followers, most prominently party chairman Tukur, into position. This is seen as a clear indication that he does intend to make a renewed bid for the presidency.
For the time being, reconciliation does not seem a likely prospect. However, much can happen between now and the elections in 2015.
Source: Deutsche Welle
Newscast Media LAGOS—Boko Haram insurgents in Nigeria’s Borno State have ordered civil servants and Christians to leave two towns. The government vacillates between crackdown and dialogue. Hundreds of residents have fled the towns of Bama and Gwoza in Borno State following attacks and threats by suspected members of the Islamist militant sect Boko Haram.
The insurgents were moving from house to house, issuing threatening letters saying that civil servants and Christians must leave Bama within seven days or risk being killed, according to one Bama resident speaking to the media on arrival in Maiduguri.
Borno State, of which Maiduguri is the capital, is located in the mainly Muslim northeast of Nigeria. Southern Nigeria is predominantly Christian.
Ibrahim Aliyu, national director political and social affairs of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) youth wing described the situation in Borno State as terrible.
“These people will come to Maiduguri town and attack a school so I think the government should do a lot more than they are doing now,” he said.
The insurgents were chased out of their Sambisa Game Reserve camps by the security forces in a crackdown launched on May 14, but some were said to have regrouped and started fresh attacks.
This is not the first time that Boko Haram has threatened to attack Christian residents.
Last year, a purported Boko Haram spokesman known by the name of Abul Qaqa, issued an ultimatum to southerners living in the northern part of Nigeria to move away. Abul Qaga was reportedly killed by the Nigerian military last year.
Analyst Ibrahim Shamsudeen accuses the government of President Jonathan of failing to tackle the insurgency adequately. He says there is a confusing scenario in which the government has called for dialogue with Boko Haram, but at the same time it is waging war against them. “If there is going to be a dialogue, let there be circumstances under which these people will come out for dialogue,” he said.
Source: Radio Deutsche Welle