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

    Video For Many US Veterans, the Vietnam War Continues

    More than 40 years after it ended, war in Vietnam and America’s role in it continue to provoke bitter debate, especially among those who fought in it

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    100 immigrants graduated Friday as US citizens in New York, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in cities across country

    Family's Fight Pays Off With Arlington Cemetery Burial Rights for WASPs

    Policy that allowed the Women Airforce Service Pilots veterans to receive burial rites at Arlington had been revoked in 2015

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora