This week on War News Radio, Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen have entered a new stage, President Obama announced the deaths of two aid workers in Pakistan by US drone, new information on the strength of North Korean ballistic missiles, and more.
This week on War News Radio, President Obama is removing Cuba from the United States sponsor of terrorism list, the terrorist group Al-Shabaab staged an attack on the Somalian Ministry of Higher Education in Mogadishu, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani criticized the recent compromise between the Obama administration and Congress over the nuclear agreement with Iran, and more.
In addition, we present a featured piece by WNR reporter Amber Sheth. A couple of weeks ago, Amber Sheth had the opportunity to meet with Theresa Williamson, founder of Rio on Watch, a watchdog news organization that brings reporting directly from Rio favelas and translates it into English. Take a listen!
This week on War News Radio, updates on last week’s nuclear deal established between Iran, the United States, and five other nations, newly elected Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari pledged to spare no effort to defeat Boko Haram, fighting continued in the Iraqi city of Tikrit since government forces recaptured the city from ISIS control, and more.
This week, War News Radio also brings to you content from our partner radio station, Yatsani FM in Lusaka, Zambia from reporter Maybin Katungulu on deforestation. In addition, War News Radio’s Sara Morell and Jay Clayton present Filibusted, an editorial segment dedicated to the news that makes you want to tear your hair out.
This week, Muhammadu Buhari defeated former President Goodluck Jonathan to become President of Nigeria. Many hope the election signals increasing democracy in a country that has never before removed a sitting leader at the ballot box. Back in 2011, 800 people died during protests alleging foul play at the polls when Jonathan defeated Buhari. But now Goodluck Jonathan and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have publicly conceded defeat after 16 years in office. “President Jonathan was a worthy opponent and I extend the hand of fellowship to him,” Buhari told reporters and supporters on Wednesday. “We have proven to the world that we are people who have embraced democracy. We have put one-party state behind us.”
Here’s a short primer on President-elect Buhari and what these elections mean for Nigeria.
Muhammadu Buhari first ruled Nigeria from January 1984 until August 1985 after a military coup. His legacy is mixed. His previous government took a hard line against corruption and Buhari maintains a rare reputation for honesty among Nigerian politicians. On the other hand, his attempts to re-balance public finances resulted in job losses and economic disruptions. He also restricted freedom of the press while in power, jailing of two journalists. Buhari has defended his military coup in 1983. “If you choose correct leadership, there won’t be any need for the military regime,” he has said. “The military came in when it was absolutely necessary and the elected people had failed the country.” Buhari himself was removed from power in a later military coup.
Buhari was defeated in the last three elections. However, in this round of elections, he was supported as a candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC). APC is composed of many prominent defectors from Jonathan’s PDP, which has been at the forefront of the political scene since the end of military rule in Nigeria in 1999. Buhari campaigned as a born-again democrat focused on cleaning up corrupt politics to allay fears that his ruling would mark a return to a strict military regime.
As a Sunni Muslim from northern Nigeria, Buhari’s religion has made it difficult to win support among Christians in southern Nigeria. After surviving an attack from Boko Haram on his convoy in July 2014, Buhari vowed to end the insurgency within months if elected, blaming President Jonathan for failing to remove the group. Many Nigerians hope he can use his military background to counter Boko Haram insurgency in the north, where he is popular among the poor.
Elections in Nigeria have been typically marked by violence and corruption. In the time since campaigning began in mid-November, the ruling and opposition parties have reported violent attacks that have resulted in the deaths of many supporters. Nigeria’s elections were originally set for mid-February but were postponed for six weeks due to potential security concerns as military resources were devoted to fighting against Boko Haram. Fourteen candidates participated in the election, but Jonathan and Buhari were the only two seen to have a realistic chance of winning. While Jonathan still has support in his home region in the majority-Christian south, his government has faced backlash for its failure to combat Boko Haram. Insecurity, elite corruption among high-profile politicians and business leaders, and the state of the economy all ranked high among voter concerns.
This time, the Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec) was charged with enforcing election procedures from vote-counting – the candidate with the most first-round votes and at least 25% of the votes in two-thirds of Nigeria’s states wins – to instating new biometric cards to stop voter fraud. But Inec faced a special challenge in the north, where roughly one million people displaced by the conflict with Boko Haram had to cast their votes at specially provided facilities. International and local observers including the European Union would not deploy observers in the north-east due to security concerns. Inec’s job is not quite finished. On April 11, Nigerians will vote again to elect new governors and state assemblies for 29 of 36 states, including large and economically powerful Lagos, Kano, and Rivers.
Nigeria has the largest economy and population of any country in Africa. Last year, it overtook South Africa to claim the region’s largest economy and is one of Africa’s largest oil producers and a main supplier of crude oil to the United States. Citizens though complain that the wealth of the country from oil exports do not reach the average citizen, as roughly 70% of Nigerians live below the poverty line.
This week on War News Radio, at least 147 are dead and 79 injured after Islamist militants attacked a university in northeast Kenya, Iraq recaptured the city of Tikrit from ISIS, the Palestinian Authority officially became a member of the International Criminal Court, and more.
This week on War News Radio, a coalition led by Saudi Arabia started airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen, a US announcement that it will join airstrikes against ISIS in the Iraqi city of Tikrit prompted over a third of Iraqi fighters to withdraw or refuse to cooperate in the battle, Boko Haram kidnapped 500 women and children from the Northern Nigerian town of Damasuk, and more.
This week, War News Radio is also presenting content from two of our partner radio stations, Yatsani FM in Loo-saka, Zambia and Mazabuka Community Radio in Mazabuka, Zambia. We bring to you content from reporter Maybin Katungulu on the Beating Famine Conference and reporter Lorraine Hamusonde on drought conditions in her district of Zambia.