News / Africa

Nigerian Opposition Parties Make Gains in State Houses

A woman prepares to cast her vote in Kaduna, Nigeria, April 28, 2011 (file photo)
A woman prepares to cast her vote in Kaduna, Nigeria, April 28, 2011 (file photo)

Nigerian opposition parties have increased their share of the country's powerful state governors in a vote that the Obama administration says reverses a downward slide of democracy.

Nigeria's ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) held on to the presidency with the election of Goodluck Jonathan, but it will control fewer of the country's powerful state governors following a vote marred by violence and allegations of ballot theft.

The ruling party now holds none of the six state houses in the southwest region where the opposition Action Congress of Nigeria picked up the states of Ogun and Oyo while holding on to control of the commercial capital Lagos.

Lagos Governor Babatunde Fashola says the electoral commission defied those who feared the worst.

"Everything pointed to a disaster, and pointed to very difficult times ahead," said Fashola.  "But I think with these elections as a people we have risen and said that we will not accept certain things anymore. There is still a lot of work to do about our elections, but this is progress that we must build on."

The U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Johnnie Carson, says the vote marks a new direction for Africa's most populous country.

"This reverses a downward democratic trajectory and provides the country a solid foundation for strengthening its electoral procedures and democratic institutions in the years to come," said Carson.  "The Nigerian people have shown to the world their resilience and will to have their voices heard. These elections were a real opportunity to choose their leaders."

There were problems. Supporters of opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari fought with riot police after Buhari said President Jonathan's election was rigged. Buhari supporters attacked churches, homes and police stations in the north, sparking reprisal attacks by Christians in violence that a local human rights group says killed at least 500 people.

Buhari's party is challenging results from the gubernatorial elections in Niger and Katsina states. The Action Congress of Nigeria is contesting the outcome of voting in Akwa Ibom.

Despite what he called "some technical imperfections," Carson says these elections are a substantial improvement over Nigeria's seriously flawed 2007 vote.

"Following the deplorable post-election violence of the previous week, we are heartened that many Nigerian voters went to the polls to vote in an environment largely free of violence," added Carson.  "We remain concerned about allegations of fraud and ballot box snatching in various jurisdictions, and we strongly urge Nigerian authorities to investigate and take corrective actions on all of these allegations."

President Jonathan says a judicial commission of inquiry will investigate post-electoral violence and all perpetrators of what he calls "these dastardly acts of violence" will face the full weight of the law.

You May Like

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs