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

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

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