News / Africa

Nigerian Voters Question Length of Registration for January Elections

Nigerians go to the polls in January to choose new lawmakers, state governors, and a president. Some voters are concerned there will not be enough time to register everyone who wants to vote.

Nigeria's electoral commission this week ended months of speculation about the timing of next year's vote by announcing that legislative elections will be held January 15 followed by presidential voting on the 22nd and gubernatorial voting on the 29th.

Engineer Ibrahim Okoki says it is about time.

"We want a good leader to lead our country that is why I am so eager, I am waiting anxiously for January 22 to vote for the good president who is going to lead our country," said Ibrahim Okoki.

Federal elections in 2007 were marred by wide-spread allegations of fraud and intimidation. Accountant Awonusi Adewale says a fairer vote this time will help Nigeria's economy.

"The political stability in any country is very important for the investors and the economy, for those who have investment in Nigeria, they want the transition to be smooth," said Awonusi Adewale.

The electoral commission says registration for that voting will be held during the first 14 days of November. But some Nigerians say that is not enough time for a country of more than 150 million people.

Chief Francis Malam Obi is a community leader in Nigeria's southern Delta region.

"Fourteen days is not enough for the process because most of them will come from where ever they are staying in Lagos or Abuja," said Francis Malam Obi. "They will like to go home to their hometown to register, so it is not enough at all. You need a good registration, so the 14 days is too small. They should make it one month."

If the registration is not completed successfully, Reverend Sylvester Odemelukpore says the electoral commission should extend the exercise.

"My opinion is let us try the 14," said Sylvester Odemelukpore. "But they shouldn't stay on it. Maybe if they didn't meet up, they should also have other extensions. But let's try to work on the 14 days being stipulated."

Ruling-party politician Austin Oboba says the timeline was imposed on the electoral commission by the federal government, which moved up voting from April to January.

"Democracy has been in Nigeria," Austin Oboba said. "We have experienced it now without interruption, and we want that culture to be maintained. Even though we are not going to expect 100 percent perfect registration, but at least something is being done."

Oboba says most Nigerians view political affairs with suspicion. But the only way to make a difference is to take part in the process.

"When you are saying you don't want Mr. A or Mr. B to be there, what is your strength? Your only instrument is by registering," he said. "So if you have your vote, if you put your one vote it is counted. And you make the man of your choice to win. So if you don't register, already you have disenfranchised yourself. You can only talk. But you can not act."

Reverend Odemelukpore says he is encouraging his congregation to take part.

"Let them go out there and get themselves registered so that they have access to vote," he said. "Because if you don't register, you don't have access to vote. So we are doing our level best to sensitize our people, our members, the Christian community, to go and register so they can come out en mass to vote for the person they wish to vote for."

Vegetable seller Mary Haruna says she has yet to see a candidate she would vote for.

"I only pray to God to select a good leader for us," said Mary Haruna. "There is no one that we know now who is good for us. Only God knows the best person."

Ruling-party governors say President Goodluck Jonathan has told them that he will be a candidate in this vote. That would disrupt a regional power-sharing agreement that says the next president should be from northern Nigeria. Mr. Jonathan is expected to formally  announce his candidacy later this month.

You May Like

Multimedia Brussels Schools, Metro Reopen Under Heavy Guard

City remains under the highest threat alert level due to what authorities have described as a 'serious and imminent' threat of attack

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

UN Warns Air Pollution in Asia Pacific Has Rising Cost

Globally some seven million people a year die prematurely due to indoor and outdoor pollution with about 70 per cent of those deaths in region

This forum has been closed.
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.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs