News / Africa

Nigeria's Elections Get Mixed Reviews

Oronto Douglas hailed Nigeria's presidential election, but others at a Washington conference were more reserved
Oronto Douglas hailed Nigeria's presidential election, but others at a Washington conference were more reserved
Nico Colombant

Nigeria's ongoing election cycle has gotten mixed reviews from a panel of experts and Nigerian officials in Washington.  Concerns were raised about widespread violence and the fairness of the vote counting.

While most experts and officials at the Atlantic Council Washington conference Tuesday said the elections so far were credible, Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, a former Nigerian government minister, and a supporter of losing presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari, urged caution.

Official results from the April 16th presidential ballot announced Monday gave incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan a new mandate with 57 percent of the vote.

But El-Rufai alleged there had been tampering of ballots before they reached the Abuja-based Independent National Election Commission, known as INEC.

"I know that many people in Washington and in Brussels would want to celebrate Nigeria's election and say it is a great success," said Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai. "I am sorry I disagree. I think it is a major improvement but unless and until we find a way to get results of elections at polling unit level going directly to the chairman of INEC, without any human intervention, without any ability to change the numbers, we are not going to have credible elections in Nigeria."

One of the dozens of Nigerians in attendance, Juliana Oyegun, a World Bank official, urged El-Rufai to immediately go back to Nigeria and help end the violence and rioting which has taken place in more than a dozen states.

"You cannot speak of a democracy without a presumption that violence is off the table," said Juliana Oyegun. "This is a prerequisite as far as I am concerned. Democracy is not just about voting. It is also about citizenship and mutuality. In the absence of that, how do you build a nation?"

An adviser to President Jonathan, Oronto Douglas, asked for proof of widespread tampering.  

"Yes there were flaws, but these were not enough to sour the sweet soup of our democracy, not enough at all," said Oronto Douglas. "It is important that in our examining of this election we should look at the positives.  The positives include (that) Nigerians have come together under [Mr.] Jonathan to build a new Nigeria."

Former U.S. Assistant of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer urged all grievances to be processed through Nigerian courts, even if these were slow, and not trusted by all political actors.

"The courts overturned many of the ruling party victories from the last elections so I think that the people of Nigeria can have some faith in the judicial system and the fact that it takes a long time for cases to come forward, for evidence to be presented and to be judged on is a problem of all judicial systems of the world," said  Jendayi Frazer.

Panelists said the final sequence of balloting on April 26 to determine Nigeria's next governors as well as dozens of remaining parliamentary seats which were not yet contested are now under the threat of opposition boycotts as well as more violence.  

You May Like

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible 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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs