Nigerian president pledges to fight insurgency | Africa | DW | 29.05.2012
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Africa

Nigerian president pledges to fight insurgency

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan came to power a year ago in a vote viewed as the fairest in nearly two decades, but the challenges of the last 12 months have been formidable.

The sound of ambulances evacuating victims of terrorist attacks blamed on the Islamist group Boko Haram have become very familiar to Nigerians since President Goodluck Jonathan came to power. The president admitted as much in his anniversary address on Tuesday.

"Terrorism, a new menace totally alien to our way of life and culture, has reared its head and it is posing a serious challenge," he said. "We must confront all those who think they can derail us by engaging in indiscriminate violence and mass murder."

Jonathan also said he had an obligation as president to protect Nigerians' lives and property.

Demonstration against cut in fuel subsidies.

Nigerians were angry when President Jonathan ended fuel subsidies abruptly on January 1

This is a sore point for the president because since he came to power hundreds of people have been killed in suicide attacks and other acts of violence linked to Boko Haram.

Other presidential policies have also sparked criticism. In January, Nigerians staged nationwide protests against the government after it increased the price of fuel by about a hundred percent. The government eventually bowed to public pressure and brought fuel prices down again.

Nigerians, though, remain sceptical of Goodluck Jonathan. One Lagos resident told DW "He has not done anything, so he has failed in the first one year in terms of developing or adding anything to the nation."

Another Nigerian citizen was equally despondent. "There were expectations that the reverse in industrialization would be tackled, mass unemployment would be addressed and basic facilities and amenities would begin to witness change. Those expectations remain largely unfulfilled."

©Jonathan Rebboah/Wostok Press/Maxppp France, Paris 25/11/2011 Le president du Nigeria Goodluck Jonathan arrive au palais de l Elysee The President of Nigeria Goodluck Jonathan at the Elysee Palace

President Jonathan says he will send long-delayed legislation on the oil industry to parliament next month

Sylvester Odion-Akhaine of the Lagos State University says if President Jonathan is to make any tangible achievement during his remaining three years in office, he will have to surround himself with the right people.

"If you look at the people in his cabinet, these were people that were nominated by parties and they were not nominated on pedigree," he says. "Unless there is a reshuffle and the technocrats are brought in, it is not likely that the regime will have achieved anything at the end of four years and Nigeria will be worse off."

The president's supporters are already looking beyond his last three years in office. Their sights are fixed on the 2015 election and they see Jonathan as a candidate. For the moment at least, he is dismissing any talk of 2015 as a source of distraction.

Author: Sam Olukoya/mc

Editor: Daniel Pelz

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