from Africa in Transition

Nigeria’s President "Under Pressure" to Run for Re-Election

November 11, 2013

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According to the media, Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan on November 8 said he is under pressure to run for a second term. Speaking through his special adviser on political matters, Ali Ahmed Gulak, Jonathan said that over 1,665 campaign groups have volunteered to work for his re-election. His spokesman went on to say that Nigerians in the diaspora are "burning in unquenchable desire to return to the country and cast their votes for the ruling PDP come 2015." Jonathan is the head of the party and would be the PDP presidential candidate if he runs.

Jonathan also reiterated that he will announce whether or not he is going to run only in 2014.

Elected vice president in 2007, Jonathan, a Christian from the south, served as "interim" president when President Yar’Adua, a northern Muslim, was dying. After his death in 2010, Jonathan became president. He was elected president in his own right in 2011. Though Nigeria’s president is limited to two terms, most Nigeria legal experts maintain that Jonathan can run again in 2015 as he has been elected president only once.

However, under an informal system within the PDP whereby the presidential candidate alternated between the North and the South every eight years, in 2011, it was still the North’s turn. Many in the North expected Jonathan to finish Yar’Adua’s term and then stand aside for a northern candidate. Jonathan could then run in 2015. However, many northern politicians say that Jonathan gave an undertaking not to run again in 2015, in return for their supporting him in 2011. The possibility–even likelihood–that Jonathan will run again in 2015 is a major reason for the recent split within the PDP.

Jonathan is certainly under pressure from his supporters and his region to run again. The November 8 announcement that there are over 1,665 campaign groups prepared to work for his re-election is evidence of that pressure. The November 9 announcement may also be part of the preparation for the eventual announcement that Jonathan will run.

More on:

Sub-Saharan Africa

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Nigeria

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