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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs