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Nigeria Senate Elections Set for Saturday for Most of Country

An election officer in Nigeria's commercial capital, Lagos, makes a phone call after the postponement of parliamentary elections, April 2, 2011

NIGERIA / SENATE ELECTIONS -- Nigeria will hold most of its senate elections Saturday. The voting was supposed to be held April 2nd, but was postponed because of the late arrival of election materials in some areas.

INEC, the Independent National Electoral Commission, confirmed Thursday night the Senate polls would be held on two separate days. About 85 percent of the country will vote for senators Saturday and the rest will cast their ballots later this month.

Those remaining senate contests will be decided on April 26, the same day voters will also choose governors and members of the state assembly. INEC says while it may experience some access problems in rural areas, it will make every effort to get the election materials to the polling centers. This could include using bicycles or motorcycles.

The delayed senate polls are the same ones where balloting was already underway last Saturday when INEC announced the postponement. INEC says to ensure there is no tampering with the ballots that had been cast in those areas, voting will be held on April 26.

Opposition parties are already mounting a legal challenge to the two-day senate vote, but the case is not expected in the courts until after ballots are cast. Nigeria has a history of protracted legal battles over election results, sometimes lasting years.

Reporter Chinedu Offor is on assignment in Nigeria. To hear his interview with VOA’s Joe De Capua click the link below.