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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

1855 Slave Brochure Starkly Details Sale of Black Americans

Document lists entire families that were up for sale in New Orleans, offering graphic insight into the slavery trade More

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

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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
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 Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
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 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 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.

VOA Blogs