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

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid