Of the more than 175 million people who live in Nigeria, 70 percent of them are young. And among those millions are more than 125 million mobile phone subscribers, the largest such market in Africa. So, as Nigeria turned to a crucial national election last month, a group of political activists selected a smartphone application might galvanize a few million of those citizens and guarantee a free and fair election in a nation not known for its transparency. Yemi Adamolekun is one of those who tapped that demographic with technology. Dressed in T-shirt and a trousers of Ankara fabric, Adamolekun walked briskly into Terra Kulture, a bookstore located in the high-brow area in Lagos State. Her simple clothing style and a natural hairdo underscore her no-nonsense approach to national affairs.
The dozens of deaths that marred the recent Nigerian elections would be considered shocking by the standards of most developed nations. Compared to past elections, however, the violence this time around was limited, and many observers say social media and technology such as biometric card readers played a big role in minimizing conflict. Online services are credited with keeping people informed during the runup to the elections, promoting the feeling they could communicate and express their views without resorting to violence, and other technology helped to ensure cheating would be kept to a minimum. Nigeria’s experience suggests that tech can play a role in reducing election-related violence in other countries.
Nigeria: Muhammadu Buhari’s Party Retains Lagos Control, Amid Election Violence And Low Voter Turnout | International Business Times
Nigerian president-elect Muhammadu Buhari’s political party retained the Lagos state governorship, the country’s electoral commission said Sunday. Amid violence that marred weekend polling, Buhari’s All Progressives Congress consolidated the new president’s power by gaining control of the commercial capital, Reuters reported. The results mean it will be the first time since the end of Nigerian military rule in 1999 the governor of the capital and the president are from the same party. However, election observers said Buhari’s party reached that milestone with low voter turnout, compared to last month’s presidential vote that saw President Goodluck Jonathan’s defeat.
Nigerian election winner Muhammadu Buhari congratulated outgoing president Goodluck Jonathan for peacefully relinquishing power on Wednesday, a day after becoming the first Nigerian politician to unseat a sitting leader at the ballot box. In an unprecedented step, Jonathan phoned Buhari to concede defeat and issued a statement urging his supporters to accept the result, a signal of deepening democracy in Africa’s most populous nation that few had expected. “President Jonathan was a worthy opponent and I extend the hand of fellowship to him,” Buhari told journalists and supporters to loud applause, wearing a black cap and kaftan.
Election officials worked into the night Monday counting the results from Nigeria’s tight presidential vote, while the U.S. and Britain warned of “disturbing indications” the tally could be subject to political interference. Early returns gave former military dictator Muhammadu Buhari seven states while incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan had five, including the Federal Capital Territory. But results from another 25 states were still to be tallied, and 22 states had not yet delivered their results to the counting center in Abuja, indicating a winner could not be announced before Tuesday. As expected, Buhari swept two major northern states of Kano and Kaduna, delivering crushing defeats to Jonathan there. In Kano, the state with the second-largest number of voters, Buhari had 1.9 million votes to Jonathan’s 216,000.
Tensions were building in Nigeria on Sunday as partial results from presidential elections, posted unofficially on the internet, raised expectations of an unprecedented opposition victory for former military ruler, Muhammadu Buhari. Aides to President Goodluck Jonathan insisted the incumbent was still on course to secure the result and cautioned against numbers that had yet to be given a final stamp of approval by the Independent National Electoral Commission. “There is lots of hype and both sides are selectively putting up things on line. But we have been collecting results from units across the country,” said Deameari Von Kemedi, a lead campaigner for Mr Jonathan. “According to our own internal projections, although we do not have the complete picture yet, we project a Jonathan victory.”
Nigeria’s electoral commission says it has found a means to fight fraud that has marred votes repeatedly in Africa’s most populous nation: technology. While its decision to use biometric voter-card readers in general elections starting March 28 is favored by Muhammadu Buhari’s opposition alliance, President Goodluck Jonathan’s ruling People’s Democratic Party, which has won every election in Africa’s biggest oil producer since the end of military rule in 1999, is crying foul. All of the previous elections were marred by ballot stuffing, multiple and underage voting, and falsification of figures, according to local and international monitors. About 800 people died in violence in 2011 after Buhari lost to Jonathan and said the result was rigged.
The Nigerian federal high court in Lagos has barred the military from deploying around polling stations during March 28 national elections, the lawyer for the parliamentarian who brought the case said on Tuesday. Opposition leader Femi Gbajabiamila argued a deployment would violate the constitution, lawyer Ijeoma Njemanze said, amid opposition fears that soldiers may intimidate voters or tamper with ballot boxes. The ruling, made on Monday by Justice Ibrahim Buba, does not affect troops already dispatched to northeast Nigeria, where Islamists have waged a six-year insurgency, she added.
Africa’s biggest economy and oil producer – stepped up security in its capital Abuja on Monday, deploying soldiers and putting up barricades before Saturday’s election. DW’s correspondent in Abuja, Ben Shemang, said soldiers, police and even plainclothes security operatives were to be seen at the barricades. “Sometimes they do stop-and-search,” he said. A spokesman for President Goodluck Jonathan’s ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the government “needs to give citizens a sense of protection.” But political analyst Anselm Okolo told the German news agency dpa there was no reason for the deployment of soldiers “other than intimidation of opponents of President Jonathan.”
I was looking forward to being in Nigeria this weekend, writing a preview for the presidential elections at the end of the month. Not the way every Telegraph reader might want to spend their weekend, I grant you, but by foreign correspondents’ standards, it’s a Premier League fixture. The contest will decide who rules West Africa’s most important country, and in the wake of last year’s kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls by Boko Haram, the wider world will be following it in a way they never used to. Sadly, if it’s on-the-ground reportage you want, don’t come to me. Or The Times or Channel 4 News. Or any of the 20-odd other British media outlets that have asked for press visas to cover the elections, and whose applications still languish in a pile at the Nigerian High Commission in London. (Fee £300, non-returnable.)