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

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs