News / Africa

Nigerian Legislators Pondering Vote Delay

Multimedia

Audio

Nigerian lawmakers said they are willing to consider postponing legislative, presidential and gubernatorial polls because the electoral commission said there is not enough time to register voters.

A joint committee from Nigeria's Senate and House of Representatives said it accepts the need to delay the vote after the electoral commission asked for more time.

Commission chairman Attahiru Jega told lawmakers that Nigerians aspire not to go through the process of an election, but to have the outcome of that vote be legitimate.  He said  that aspiration could be compromised if Nigeria keeps to its current electoral timetable - a risk that Jega says should not be taken.

"When you plan, even though you assume the worst, you also need sufficient room for adequate preparation so that if there is any problem there is room for maneuver.  But the existing timelines are so tight, and unfortunately the more we miss some of these milestones, the more problematic it becomes in terms of guaranteeing free, fair and credible elections, and also guaranteeing a credible, fresh voters' register," said Jega.

Changing the timetable means changing Nigeria's constitution and this year's electoral act.  So the power to make those changes rests with the National Assembly.  Jega thanked lawmakers for considering the commission's request and assured them that it is not frivolous.  "There is no point spending so much money going through a process, which in the end may turn out not to be satisfactory in terms of its credibility," he said.

Parliamentary changes to the electoral act require the approval of President Goodluck Jonathan.  Attorney General Mohammed Adoke says the Jonathan administration understands the need for delay.  "The fundamental objective of this government is to have a free, fair and credible election at the end of the day," said Adoke.  "I have listened to the proposal and proposition of the INEC chairman.  Our position as the government is that we will do everything possible to support and ensure that we have a free, fair and credible election."

Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Bayero Nafada is the co-chairman of the National Assembly's Constitutional Review Committee.  He said, "Nigerians are watching.  We pray that at the end of our deliberation, we will be able to come out with an acceptable procedure and timetable for the conduct of the general election come 2011."

Nafada said lawmakers continue to support the electoral commission, but want to make sure that the timetable presented this time is one that will work.  "We pray that this time around, this will be the last request that will come from any quarters regarding this election because it will not continue that way.  If there is any further [delay], God forbid, I think it will become a crisis," he said.

Nigerian lawmakers said they will start work on changing the timetable after the electoral commission proposes a new schedule Wednesday.  Jega says the commission is looking for a three-month extension that would push next January's vote back to April.

You May Like

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap 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.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid