Nigeria: Presidential – General elections will be held on February 14, 2015
Nigerian president begins re-election campaign
Goodluck Jonathan, seeking to win a second four-year term in February’s vote, holds mass rally in opposition stronghold
LAGOS- Nigeria’s president, Goodluck Jonathan, formally began his campaign for re-election on Thursday, taking the fight to a key opposition stronghold with a mass rally.
All roads to the venue on Lagos Island were cordoned off and armed soldiers and police searched the crowds, many of them dressed in the red, white and green of Jonathan’s Peoples Democratic party (PDP).
The vote is due to go ahead on 14 February but there are fears that polling could be ruled out in swaths of the country’s north-east because of sustained violence by Boko Haram militants. The national electoral body has said there are no plans to postpone.
Jonathan, a 57-year-old southern Christian, is pushing for a second four-year term, calling for more time to build on his first and complete his “transformation agenda”. Two-page advertisements in national newspapers on Thursday proclaimed: “Goodwork in progress … Vote goodwork … vote Goodluck.”
The main opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) has denounced Jonathan’s presidency as a failure, highlighting his inability to end the Islamist insurgency and tackle endemic corruption. Nigeria is also reeling from a fall in global crude prices that has forced a revision of the 2015 budget estimates and a devaluation of the currency against the US dollar.
“Under his watch, Nigeria has become No 1 in broken promises,” read one advertisement supporting the APC candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, a former military ruler.
On Wednesday Jonathan’s campaign chief, Femi Fani-Kayode, described Buhari as a “great danger” for the unity of the country. He said the 72-year-old from the Muslim-majority north, who is standing for the presidency for the fourth time since 1999, “represents a return to an ugly past which is best forgotten”.
Fani-Kayode also questioned Buhari’s democratic credentials and described his record in public office as “shameful and disastrous”. Buhari ousted the civilian president Shehu Shagari in a military coup in 1983 and his 18-month rule was characterised by a hardline stance on corruption.
“We do not believe that Nigeria ought to be run by a man that is not capable of tolerating dissent or by a political party like the APC that has no sense of remorse, restraint or decency,” Fani-Kayode said.
The APC, a coalition of opposition parties, is seen as having its best chance of winning power since Nigeria returned to civilian rule 16 years ago. It said the PDP was running scared. “The real danger to democracy in Nigeria is Jonathan,” said the party’s spokesman Lai Mohammed. “Before he came into office in 2010, Nigeria was a united country. But it is no more now.
“[Buhari] is also a good party man. The orgy of violence, armed robbery, killings, kidnappings and other forms of crime under Jonathan’s watch is unprecedented in the history of Nigeria. We have more than 20,000 sq km of our land now occupied by Boko Haram.”
The opposition has previously denounced a secret police raid on its Lagos offices and the teargassing of opposition MPs outside parliament last year as politically motivated. This week the APC claimed that Buhari supporters were shot as they made their way to a rally in the southern oil city of Port Harcourt on Tuesday.
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News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saad Abubakar, on Sunday called on Nigerians to shun violence to ensure peaceful conduct of the general elections.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Abubakar said this at a special convention and launch of AT-Tajdid Newspaper and Islamic centre.
He said that the desire of Nigerians to conduct free, fair and credible elections would only be possible in peaceful atmosphere.
Abubakar called on Islamic clerics to sensitise their followers on what the entire society stood to benefit in peaceful atmosphere.
“There is no religion that preaches violence, hence the need for Nigerians to work hard in ensuring peaceful conducts of all electoral processes,” he said.
Abubakar described the gathering as a great achievement in the history of Islamic affairs in the world.
He said that the Sultanate would partner the newspaper to sensitize Nigerians on what Islamic religion is all about.
Abubakar advised that the paper should be used to promote the good moral teachings of past leaders.
Speaking earlier, Gov Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto State, advised the newspaper to come out with programmes to educate Nigerians on importance of religious tolerance.
He commended members of the Jama-tul Tajdudil Islam (JTI) for continued support in the promotion of Islamic activities.
He also called on Islamic scholars to educate their followers on the need to participate in the forth coming general elections.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that about N93 million (US $516,667)was realized at the launching with Sokoto State Government donating N25 million (US $111,111) and Zamfara State Government N3.5 million (US $19,444).
Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country, is composed of more than 250 ethnic groups; the following are the most populous and politically influential: Hausa and Fulani 29%, Yoruba 21%, Igbo (Ibo) 18%, Ijaw 10%, Kanuri 4%, Ibibio 3.5%, Tiv 2.5%
Traditional African 10%
|6||Port Harcourt||Rivers State||1,320,214|
|10||Benin City||Edo State||1,147,188|