News / Africa

    Nigerians to Vote in Presidential Polls

    A Nigerian man hawks snacks along a street lined with destroyed posters advertising Presidential candidate Jonathan Goodluck at Jos, Apr 15 2011
    A Nigerian man hawks snacks along a street lined with destroyed posters advertising Presidential candidate Jonathan Goodluck at Jos, Apr 15 2011

    Nigerians are preparing to cast their ballots on Saturday in the country's presidential election, a contest that incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan is highly favored to win.

    Nigeria's Independent National Electoral Committee, INEC, says it is prepared for presidential balloting after a bumpy start earlier this month.

    Saturday's poll is the second in a three-part general election being held in Africa's most populous nation, and is seen as a test of whether Nigeria can hold fair elections after a decade of polls marred by corruption and violence.

    Parliamentary elections held last week were postponed twice after ballot distribution problems, but INEC says all 70 million voters should be able to cast their ballots Saturday.

    Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, the former vice president, is seeking his first full term after assuming the presidency last year upon the death of his predecessor.

    Although Jonathan is favored to win in a crowded field of a dozen other candidates, his two main rivals are 68-year-old former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, and the 50-year-old former anti-corruption head, Nuhu Ribadu.

    One voter named Mario Samuel made it very clear who he would vote for.

    "General Buhari, because he's the man whom we shall trust over all the other aspirants," Samuel said.

    Samuel says he does not trust Jonathan's party, the ruling People's Democratic Party, to tackle the problem of deep-seated corruption.

    Another voter, an unemployed university graduate, said he was going to vote for Buhari but changed his mind after President Jonathan promised to help create jobs for Nigeria's large number of unemployed youths.

    "I made up my mind that I'm going to vote for him [Jonathan], provided he is able to meet all his political objectives," said the voter.

    The PDP has won every presidential poll since the end of military rule in 1999. The party suffered significant losses in last week's polls, losing seats in the southwest and north, but still managed to maintain its majority in the National Assembly.

    A fellow at international think tank Chatham House, Sola Tayo, says it's unclear whether the PDP's losses will have a major effect on the presidential poll, but that Jonathan may lose votes for failing to distinguish himself from his opponents on key campaign issues.  

    "Obviously the presidentials are based more on personalities. People will vote for the party, but they tend to vote a lot for the personality," said Tayo. "Goodluck Jonathan has seen a slump in popularity recently and Mohammadu Buhari has really, really come up because a lot of people are looking to him because he's a disciplinarian and he's anti-corruption. And they take him a bit more seriously than Goodluck Jonathan, some disillusioned voters."

    An Abuja-based political scientist, Ibrahim Jibrin, said regardless if Jonathan wins, the country is likely to end up with a far more dynamic political system than it has seen in more than a decade.

    "The political system will have more of an equilibrium. We've had this situation in which one party controls three-quarters of the states in the country and three-quarters of the seats in the National Assembly," said Jibrin. "That created a monolithic system in which one party was dominant and the opposition was extremely weak."

    "The new future," added Jibrin, "will be one in which you are going to have three or four major parties sharing seats in the National A ssembly and sharing control of states."

    Jibrin says even if the shrunken PDP majority makes it more difficult for Jonathan to govern, it is healthier overall for Nigeria's democracy.

    "It is more difficult, but it is also more reflective of the nature of the country. I don't believe that the PDP had the type of support it claimed," Jibrin said. "It was clear to me that a lot of their seats were through electoral fraud. What you have now is a situation in which the representation at the political level will reflect more truly the political composition of the country."

    In order to win, Jonathan will not only need a simple majority but at least 25 percent of the vote in two-thirds of the country's 36 states. This rule requires candidates to try and gain the support of as many regions as possible. Jonathan's stronghold is in the predominantly Christian south, while Buhari's is in the Muslim north.

    Elections monitors will once again be on hand to observe the country's poll. Despite some isolated incidents of violence last week, observers said the parliamentary elections were mostly free and fair. Turnout is expected to be much higher for the presidential poll and state polls slated for next week.

    You May Like

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.