News / Africa

Nigerians Prepare for Nationwide Elections on April 2

Men take a rest under a bridge pasted with election posters in Lagos, Nigeria, March 30, 2011
Men take a rest under a bridge pasted with election posters in Lagos, Nigeria, March 30, 2011

Electoral officials and security forces in Nigeria are preparing for nationwide voting Saturday.  This is to be the first of three elections this month to choose new lawmakers, governors, and a president for Africa's most populous nation.

Electoral commission chairman Attahiru Jega says authorities are well-positioned to conduct a vote that he says will go a long way to satisfy the hope of Nigerians for free, fair, and credible elections.

"We have prepared adequately in terms of logistics preparations, in terms of the training of our staff, and in terms of affective liaisons with the security agencies in order to provide security before, during, and after elections," said Jega.

Security is a big concern as there have been a series of bombings at campaign events with separate militant groups in the north and in the south threatening to disrupt the vote.  As a result Nigeria has shut its land borders and authorities will also restrict the movement of vehicles while voters cast ballots.

"There are tremendous concerns about the level of violence that has been brought into the election process thus far," added Jega.  "We believe that this violence has to be de-escalated and there is absolute need for everybody to preach peace, to work toward peace, to ensure that there are no conflicts, and to ensure that there is no violent conduct on election day."

Hafiz Ringim is the Inspector General of Nigerian Police. He says security officers and the military are out in force across the country.

"This is with a view to ensuring that no stone is left unturned, no chances or opportunities are allowed thugs, rogues, and vagabonds in order to make proper effort to disrupt the election exercises," added Ringim.

President Goodluck Jonathan says his government is working to ensure a peaceful vote.

"We have noted issues of violence even in the campaigns," said Jonathan.  "But that has opened the eyes of the security agencies, and they are working around the clock, and they will ensure that elections are not disrupted."

Voter Sunday Okoro says the money and time Nigerians have invested in this vote should not be wasted by violence.

"We are fully ready to defend our vote," said Okoro.  "We are fully ready to elect our credible leaders. We are fully ready to partake in this election. The money spent so far cannot be a waste again."

Voter Comfort Enemegu says the electoral commission has done a good job educating voters about the process and discouraging them from selling their votes.

"The party you wish to vote for is the party you will cast your vote for. It is one man, one vote now. They are all aware. I have my voter's card. I am very much prepared," Enemegu explained.

Saturday's vote for lawmakers will be followed by presidential elections April 9 and gubernatorial elections on April 16.

Nigeria's ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) is hoping to retain its hold on the presidency and parliament.

Mr. Jonathan is seeking his first full term after rising to power last year following the death of predecessor Umaru Yar'Adua.  His run was opposed by some PDP members who accuse him of breaking an informal rule to rotate the presidential nomination between Muslims from the north and Christians from the south.

Mr. Jonathan is a Christian, while Mr. Yar'Adua was a Muslim. President Yar'Adua died just three years into what was expected to be a two-term, eight-year presidency.

Nigeria's population of 140 million, the largest in Africa, is split roughly evenly between Muslims and Christians.

You May Like

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake 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.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that was eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports on how one band is bringing Yiddish tango to Los Angeles.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid