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Nigerian Observer Praise Peaceful U.S. Polls


Many international observers are in the United States for Tuesday's presidential and congressional elections. For example, observers from 90 countries are taking part in the US State Department's "I Vote" program. Among them is Rekiya Momah of Nigeria, who's in city of Rochester in western New York State. Momah spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Chinedu Offor about her observer mission.

"We arrived Washington DC on the 25th and sat through four days of sensitization on what processes is involved in the American election. And thereafter we moved to Missouri, where we meet the council, town hall people and moved around, had some meetings with some American typical families all trying to understand what the elections are all about and the process, the technicalities involved in the American election. And we are moving around, just to get a good feel rather than looking at it from one direction. It's been quite a worthwhile movement and observation."

She says the experience has rekindled her faith in the electoral system and hopes that Nigeria can learn from the campaign. "My impression is that things are going on in such an organized manner and from interactions with people, I see that even the differences in the parties they belong to does not really affect how they react to one another. For instance, we were at the MCC in Rochester yesterday, the community university, and most students and most students with diverse backgrounds who are sitting together talking with us, this person says I am Republican but am going to vote Democrat; this person says I am Democrat but am going to vote Republican, and they all have good reason for why they want to do so. Those who want to vote Democrat, they are passionate about the reasons they give and so [are the] Republicans.

It gives me such a thrill to find a number of people who are sitting together, believing in different things but it does not affect how they get along with themselves. Looking at the entire process since we came into this country, I have not heard of a case of particular violence, in spite of the individuality of the American, regionally. And then they come round to politicking and with diverse opinions and with diverse systems and rules from one state to the other and they still are doing it very calmly. That is very exciting for me."

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