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

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    How Diversity Has Changed America

    Over the past four decades, the level of diversity in the United States has increased most in these four states

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.