News / Africa

Nigeria Closes All Land Borders Ahead of Tuesday’s Gubernatorial Elections

Policeman stand guard as suspected rioters await a court hearing in Kaduna, Nigeria, April 20, 2011
Policeman stand guard as suspected rioters await a court hearing in Kaduna, Nigeria, April 20, 2011

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Kim Lewis

Nigeria’s government has stepped up security in the southeast and closed all land borders ahead of Tuesday’s gubernatorial election.

Tension remains high as opposition parties continue to accuse the ruling People’s Democratic Party [PDP] of rigging the presidential election held on April 16th. The PDP denies the charge, but the opposition says it will make it impossible for the party to win the governorship election. Violence erupted in northern areas following the vote

While security has increased countrywide, there are some southeast states that will be watched especially closely. One of them is Abia, where the governor, once a member of the opposition, has now joined the PDP. Another is Imo State, where the opposition accuses the governor, also a former opposition party member, of intimidating opposition candidates -- a charge he denies.

Two other states to watch are Enugu, where the current governor, a PDP member, has lost favor in the eyes of many who once supported him, and Bayelsa, home state of President Goodluck Jonathan, where the ruling party generally has widespread support but where, also, those who disagree with him will likely not support the PDP candidate for governor.

Citizens are making preparations for the election despite the observance of Easter weekend. Many are going from the towns to their home villages to register to vote . They are encountering a strong security presence, with armed soldiers guarding the entrances to cities.

VOA reporter Chinedu Offor is on assignment in Nigeria. To hear his interview with Kim Lewis, click on the link below.

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