News / Africa

Nigerian President Backs Election Chief Despite Poll Delay

Electoral officers unload election materials from a vehicle at the Independent National Electoral Commission building in northern city of Kano, Nigeria, April 3, 2011
Electoral officers unload election materials from a vehicle at the Independent National Electoral Commission building in northern city of Kano, Nigeria, April 3, 2011


Julia Ritchey

Nigeria's president is supporting the embattled electoral commission chief whose decision to postpone the country's elections has sparked a flurry of criticism.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said the head of the Independent Nigerian Electoral Commission, Attahiru Jega, made the right call in postponing Nigeria's election to allow for logistical problems to be worked out.

Jonathan told reporters in Abuja the INEC's decision should reassure Nigerians the body is committed to holding a fair poll. “So what happened is another demonstration that the country and the electoral body is totally committed to ensuring they conduct credible elections.”

Jega first pushed parliamentary elections from last Saturday to Monday, and then again to April 9, which also pushed the presidential and state polls to later this month. The electoral head blamed the postponement on problems getting enough ballots to polling stations.

The decision set off a flurry of criticism in Nigerian media and among voters, some of whom have called for Jega to step down.

A fellow with the Africa Program at Chatham House, Sola Tayo, said it makes sense for Jonathan to defend Jega, because he is the one who appointed him last year to clean up Nigeria's flawed electoral system.

“He made a huge song and dance about the fact that he appointed a man who is well-respected," said Tayo. "People like Professor Jega, they think he is a good person, and they saw him as somebody who was kind of tough on corruption and very outspoken on these issues.”

Tayo said ultimately the responsibility lies with Jega, but that does not mean he deserves all the blame. She said even if all the voting materials are distributed properly, the poll's credibility is still in doubt.

“Whether you have a clean, fair, peaceful election, again, it remains to be seen. Because when you have so many competing interests, you can have the best technology, the best rule in the world, but if people are determined to rig it, they are going to rig it.”

This month's polls are being seen as test of whether the continent's most populous nation can hold a functional election after its last elections in 2007 were marked by disorder, violence, and fraud.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

This forum has been closed.
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
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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