By announcing his candidacy via Facebook on Wednesday, Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan is sending a message to Nigerian media that he doesn't need them to get his message out.
Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan has ended months of speculation and confirmed he will contest January’s elections. By announcing his decision via Facebook, Jonathan is sending a message to Nigeria’s media that he will go around them, if he thinks by speaking directly he can get a fairer deal.
Jonathan is the first Nigerian president from the country’s oil-rich Delta region. He took office because of the death of his predecessor. He’s been dismissed as a caretaker by Nigerian heavyweights. While he may lack the political machinery of such past presidents as Olusegun Obasanjo, Jonathan is perhaps in the right place at the right time. The unrest in the Delta might be reason enough for voters to elect Jonathan, a reform-minded native of the region.
Nigeria’s elections are in January. Jonathan might help his cause greatly by moving to reduce tensions in the Delta. His failure to do so during the few months left in his term might help to persuade voters that he is not deserving of re-election. The best indication of his chances will come in late October when the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chooses its own presidential candidate. The party, which came to power under Obasanjo, suffered a big setback when his handpicked successor, Yar’Adua, a northerner and a Muslim, died in office. Jonathan is a southerner and a Christian.