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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid