News / Africa

Nigerian State Vote is Test Case for April Presidential Elections

Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman Attahiru Jega displays the timetable for the 2011 general elections during a news conference in Nigeria's federal capital Abuja (File Photo).
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman Attahiru Jega displays the timetable for the 2011 general elections during a news conference in Nigeria's federal capital Abuja (File Photo).

Nigeria's electoral commission has hundreds of votes to organize this year, none bigger than April's presidential contest. So the commission's first vote of the year was an important test case for improving transparency.

Emmanuel Uduaghan won re-election as governor of Nigeria's southern Delta state this past week, returning to a post he was denied after courts overturned his 2007 election because of intimidation and fraud.

Thousands of police and soldiers were on duty in a state where there are still remnants of a rebellion against how profits from the oil-rich Niger Delta are distributed. The head of the Independent National Electoral Commission, or INEC, was on hand to personally oversee the vote count.

President Goodluck Jonathan says the vote was a vast improvement over previous elections, congratulating INEC for a performance that he says shows Nigeria is well on its way to credible general elections in April.

Ruling-party official Prosper Umoko agrees. He says ballot papers arrived on time in the area of Otor Ogor and security forces and electoral officials prevented any fraud.

"The election here was very successful," said Umoko. "There is no problem. There is no fighting. They did their work very well."

Chief Friday Okowara says the Delta state vote shows INEC is ready for April.

"If elections are held like this in all the places, we will have no problems," Okowara. "There have not been problems. There is no agitation for this and that, and the officers have performed their work credibly. I commend the effort of the INEC. If other areas are like this, then we shall be happy in this country."

But other areas of Delta state were not like Otor Ogor.

In the town of Ughelli, opposition supporters say local officials helped steal the election by manipulating electoral lists and delivering ballot papers late so fewer opposition members could vote.

Gabriel Asakene blames INEC chairman Attahiru Jega.

"There was no election," said Asakene. "People are out getting to their polling stations and there is no material. What excuse are they going to give? Jega has failed."

"The situation is very tense," said Philip Omakoma, who coordinated the campaign of the leading opposition candidate, Great Ogboru. "There is not enough security. There are not enough vehicles that are provided by INEC. Some areas are not fair, but in some areas it is OK."

Voter turn-out across the state was high with Uduaghan polling just over 275,000 votes to Ogboru's 138,000.

INEC officials admit there were problems with some of the voter rolls in Delta state. The logistical challenges of registering voters in Africa's most populous country is the main reason why the commission asked that nationwide voting be delayed from January to April.

Opposition politicians say holding legislative, presidential, and gubernatorial elections all in the same month will only magnify electoral commission weaknesses and stretch thin the nation's security forces.

President Jonathan says electoral reforms are in place to deliver a far fairer vote than the election that he and then-president Umaru Musa Yar'Adua won in 2007. Mr. Jonathan hopes to secure the ruling-party nomination for April's vote during a party convention in the capital Thursday.



You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say 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.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid