Former anti-corruption czar launches election bid

2011-02-16 14:28

Abuja, Nigeria – Former Nigerian anti-corruption chief Nuhu Ribadu launched his bid for presidential elections today with an appeal to the youth, saying events in Tunisia and Egypt showed a new generation was hungry for change.

Ribadu won international praise for arrests of graft suspects and seizures of assets as the first head of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, but he is a relative political newcomer and is seen as a rank outsider in the polls.

The ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate has won every presidential race in Africa’s most populous nation since the end of military rule in 1999 and President Goodluck Jonathan is widely expected to maintain that record.

But the PDP will face tougher challenges at parliamentary elections and state governorship polls also being held in April, where Ribadu’s opposition Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) party is hoping to gain ground.

The ACN controls four of Nigeria’s 36 states, including the commercial capital and its most populous city, Lagos.

Ribadu said that of around 66 million registered voters at least 46 million were below the age of 35, an “active, restless and curious” young electorate that would no longer accept the failed governance of the past.

“We have seen what has happened in Tunisia and Egypt.

In an exciting display of people’s power, these young men and women are demanding, negotiating and securing democracy through the slogan of change,” Ribadu said to applause.

“If we fail to urgently realise the vision of a modern Nigeria, the echoes of currently muted but potentially destabilising change will soon consume our land,” he said.

Few observers imagine Nigeria could see anything like the social upheaval witnessed in north Africa, where popular revolts have overthrown the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt this year.

A corrupted political system based on patronage, rather than an autocratic individual, lies behind many Nigerians’ sense of disenfranchisement, meaning there is no clear focus for revolt.

Like Ribadu, Jonathan has tried to appeal to the younger generation, first announcing on Facebook that he planned to run in the elections and promising to create new jobs.

But the failure by successive administrations in Africa’s biggest oil exporter to address basic issues such as access to good quality education and job creation means a rapidly growing population is struggling to pull itself up out of poverty.

Youth frustration underlies many of Nigeria’s security concerns, from high crime rates in urban areas to militant attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta and the ability of radical Islamist groups to recruit in the mostly-Muslim north.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/Africa
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.