News / Africa

Nigerian Voters Begin Registering for April Elections

People wait in line at a registration center in Abuja, 15 Jan 2011.
People wait in line at a registration center in Abuja, 15 Jan 2011.

Voter registration is underway in Africa's most populous nation as Nigerians prepare for April elections to ch oose state governors, legislators, and a president.

Voter registration got off to a poor start with many centers opening late and then having trouble linking laptop computers with fingerprint scanners, cameras, and printers to produce voter cards on site.

Electoral commission chairman Attahiru Jega says the scale and complexity of this exercise is like nothing Nigeria has ever seen. But he is reassuring voters that all of these initial problems will be sorted out by Monday so the remaining two weeks of the registration run smoothly.

Voter registration officer Francis Uche heard many complaints at his center in Abuja. But he believes the electoral commission, which is known as INEC, will get it right.

"Everything will be in place, both the plastic chair and the table and the canopy we needed because we are meant to stay outside," he said. "Everything will be provided by tomorrow morning, and everything will be set."

INEC's problems were compounded by the large number of people who turned out to register, motivated in part by a public outreach campaign on radio and television.

"Only once can you register. Any other registration is a criminal offense. The exercise will start
from 8 am in the morning to 5 pm in the evening everyday. Go to register to vote because your vote is your power. Help INEC to make the 2011 election our best!"

President Goodluck Jonathan was one of the first to register in his home state of Bayelsa, telling reporters that voter registration is the beginning of good governance.

"For us to run our states and local governments and our country well the people must select their leaders," said Jonathan. "And for the people to select their leaders that means that the voting must be done properly. And the only way to do that is to get a proper voter registrations exercise, which is being done by INEC."

President Jonathan came to office eight months ago following the death of President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua. He was Mr. Yar'Adua's running mate in a 2007 election that was widely criticized for vote fraud and intimidation. The new government set in motion a series of electoral reforms that Jonathan has continued to pursue as president.

He says all Nigerians should have confidence in the coming vote, even those who dislike his government.

"In some cases, if you criticize the system, you don't even register," he said. "You don't even have a voter's card. This time around, we are emphasizing that your vote must count."

More than 70 million Nigerians are eligible to take part in this voter registration, so there is some concern whether it can all be completed in two weeks. The entire electoral timeline has already been pushed back once because the electoral commission said it needed more time to prepare materials and train workers at more than 120,000 registration centers.



You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs