News / Africa

Nigeria Counting Votes From Parlimentary Elections

Soldiers and police stand guard as electoral officials count ballot papers after the National Assembly election in Ibadan, Nigeria,Saturday, April 9, 2011.
Soldiers and police stand guard as electoral officials count ballot papers after the National Assembly election in Ibadan, Nigeria,Saturday, April 9, 2011.

Multimedia

Audio
Julia Ritchey

Election officials in Nigeria are counting votes from Saturday's parliamentary elections in which large numbers of people turned out to cast ballots despite instances of violence. Counting began as soon as polls closed Saturday, to ensure transparency. Election officials across the country held up ballots and shouted the results to crowds of voters who gathered to make sure the process was fair.

Late Saturday, election officials say a bomb exploded in a vote counting center in Maiduguri in northeast Nigeria. Earlier in the day, a bomb went off at a polling station in the same city, wounding several people.

Nigerian officials optimistic for a smooth start to elections quickly had their hopes dashed when an explosion ripped through an election office on the eve of Saturday's polls.

The bomb blast causing mulitple deaths and injuries struck a town just 20 kilometers northwest of the capital Abuja. The blast was just the latest in a series of obstacles that have beset these polls, including two delays and sporadic violence throughout the campaign season.

Yet despite these problems, voters still seemed hopeful of the poll's outcome.

"We are still upgrading our democracy because we are still not very strong, but as time goes on and by the time we see the outcome of this election, then we will be able to know where we are and where we are going," said one voter.

Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation and top oil producer, has struggled to hold credible elections since the end of military rule in 1999.

The Independent National Electoral Committee (INEC) had to twice postpone Saturday's poll after it had problems distributing enough voting ballots to the thousands of polling stations across the country. About 15 percent of the country still has to wait to cast ballots for members of parliament until the end of the month.

Former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine is leading a delegation of election monitors for the National Democratic Institute. Speaking from a polling booth in Abuja, Corzine said it was too soon to draw any conclusions about the quality of the polls.

"I want to be optimistic, but I think that I want to wait and hear from a cross section of our observers," said Corzine.  "It is quiet in the parts of Abuja we've been at and organized. Certainly with all of the preparations we went through ourselves to effectively observe, the intent of the system seems constructive. We'll see whether it gets executed in broad form across the country."

These elections are being seen as a test for Nigeria's democracy after previous elections have been widely criticized for vote rigging and violence.

The head of the electoral commission has promised "free and fair elections" for Nigeria's 70 million voters, installing new fraud-proof ballot sheets and other procedures to cut down on cheating.

The INEC even has a Twitter account where it encouraged voters to send text messages to a designated phone number to report fraudulent acts.

Saturday's poll is just the first in a three-part general election. Presidential polls are slated for April 16, and state polls the week after.

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid