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

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline 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.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid