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).
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid