News / Africa

Opposition Scores Gains in Nigeria Polls

Supporters of the Accord Party celebrate after they discovered they were reportedly leading after the counting of an election ballot papers at Oyeleye ward in Ibadan, Nigeria, April 9, 2011
Supporters of the Accord Party celebrate after they discovered they were reportedly leading after the counting of an election ballot papers at Oyeleye ward in Ibadan, Nigeria, April 9, 2011

Results from Nigeria's parliamentary elections show the opposition scoring some major victories over the ruling People's Democratic Party.

Nigerian newspapers report the speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, was beaten in his home constituency by a candidate from the opposition Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).

The daughter of former president Olusegun Obasanjo also lost to an ACN candidate.

The overall trend showed the ACN winning many races in Nigeria's southwest, where the economic capital Lagos is located.  Another party, the Congress for Progressive Change, was making a strong showing in the north.

Saturday's elections went ahead after two postponements and in spite of bombings at election-related sites in the cities of Maiduguri and Suleja.

International observers said the voting appeared to be generally free and fair, but there was some disorganization related to a high turnout.  

Nigeria's election commission is trying to move past a history of flawed polls marked by violence and fraud.

The European Union declared the 2007 elections "not credible" because of widespread disorder, ballot-box stuffing, and intimidation attempts.

Saturday's elections had been postponed twice because voting materials had not arrived at polling stations. About 15 percent of the races were still not held Saturday because of continuing ballot problems. It remains unclear when those constituencies will vote.

Nigeria is scheduled to hold its presidential election next Saturday, April 16. President Goodluck Jonathan is seeking his first full term against a field of 19 challengers, including former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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