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)
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid