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

Ukraine: Mysterious 'Roaming Tank' Reportedly Takes Aim at Smugglers

Ukraine's TV, print media, Facebook abuzz with reports a 'roaming tank' is on the loose, destroying vehicles of those involved in smuggling More

UN Tackles Illicit Wildlife Poaching Amid Cecil the Lion Uproar

The 193-member General Assembly adopts its first resolution on the issue following a two-year campaign by Germany and Gabon More

Trump Tops Poll as Rivals Battle to Make Debate

Donald Trump jumps into a big lead in Republican presidential race, according to latest poll 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.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs