Accessibility links

Nigerians Anxiously Await Election Outcome


Some results are expected Sunday from Nigeria's gubernatorial elections. Gilbert da Costa reports from the Nigerian capital, Abuja, authorities are bracing for the possibility of violence as results from Saturday's poll are made public.

Election results released Sunday indicate the candidate representing the ruling Peoples Democratic Party has emerged as governor of the southwestern state of Ekiti.

Analysts fear the release of election results could spark another storm of protest and possibly violence. Saturday's elections were marred by pockets of violence, ballot-box stuffing and other irregularities.

Poor preparation of the voter register and lack of accreditation for some observers have also raised doubts about the credibility of the exercise.

Lagos lawyer and human rights activists Festus Keyamo says the directive that only the electoral commission can announce official results is heightening tension and suspicion.

"We need to have a fair reflection of the result and the way the people voted. In some way, the agents of the various polling units have a way of collating their results independent of the INEC [Independent National Electoral Commission] and with this kind of ban they are putting on the press not to even publish, before INEC announces it, I don't think that is fair," he said. "The press will not claim to announce official results for example, but if they have polling result sheets, it is very important because it will give the official version credibility."

Saturday's polls were seen as a test for the presidential elections in a week's time to replace President Olusegun Obasanjo, who is ending his second four-year term.

More than 60 million people, out of a population of 140 million, were eligible to vote in Saturday's election of state governors and legislators.

The head of the electoral commission, Maurice Iwu, says the commission is contemplating a re-run in areas where voting did not take place.

"There isn't any hidden agenda. If we do well, we do well together. If there is failing we should say so. It is our country; our job is only to conduct elections," said Iwo. "We have set up the platform, if the parties rig the elections we should say so. If it means our re-doing it in some places, we will go ahead and redo it until we put it right. But it is really an open system as far as we are concerned."

President Obasanjo and the electoral commission chief acknowledged that some violence and voting difficulties had occurred, but dismissed suggestions they were widespread.

Local newspapers reported that more than 40 people were killed in election-related violence on Saturday.

XS
SM
MD
LG