Saturday 28 January 2012


President Jonathan
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan could enter the race for chairman of the African Union, after Gambia pulled out of the running this week, a source close to Jonathan said on Saturday.
Leaders would choose a new chairman for the 54-member pan-African body in a secret ballot at the African Union summit opening on Sunday.

The leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are campaigning for Jonathan to run for the position, which has been occupied by the President of Equatorial Guinea, Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, for the past year.
"Quite a number of African leaders have been approaching him and encouraging him to be the candidate for the next chairman of the African Union," said the source, who spoke of the condition of anonymity.
"If it is the consensus of (ECOWAS) that he should run for the chairmanship of the African Union, I doubt if he will be able to tell his colleagues that he will not listen to them," he added.
Diplomatic sources had earlier said Gambian President Yahya Jammeh or Benin's leader Boni Yayi were likely rivals for the post, which changes every year and is offered to different regions in Africa on a rotational basis.
However, the source confirmed that Gambia was no longer vying for the spot, which is largely ceremonial, adding that Benin may not run either, leaving Nigeria as the sole candidate for chairman of the union.
ECOWAS leaders were meeting on the margins of the AU summit in Addis Ababa Saturday to decide whether they will formally recommend Jonathan for the spot.
The next chairman would come from the west African region to replace Obiang, whose election was condemned by rights group over his poor rights record at home.
Elections for the key post of chairperson Commission of the African Union will also take place at the summit, with the incumbent Jean Ping taking on Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, South Africa's former foreign affairs minister.
Both sides say they are optimistic ahead of the secret ballot slated for Monday, with sources close to Gabonese-born Jean Ping say he is confident of his re-election.
Ping has the support of much of French-speaking West and Central Africa while Dlamini-Zuma is backed by the Southern African Development Community.
South Africa said Saturday it was optimistic that its powerful candidate could unseat AU head Jean Ping.

No comments:

Post a Comment