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

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals 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.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More