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.)
They are still missing. #BringBackOurGirls was pleaded from the United Nations to the red carpet, from Michelle Obama to the Pope, but the Twitter activism and all the attention it garnered didn’t help. If anything, Boko Haram, the group that kidnapped and enslaved 276 young women in Nigeria 10 months ago, has only gotten stronger. Nigeria’s elections, originally scheduled for Feb. 14, were postponed until March 28, ostensibly to give President Goodluck Jonathan’s government time to improve security. But the delay was met with allegations of political interference, as Jonathan is in a tight race against opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari, who is from the northeastern region where Boko Haram is strongest. Denying the inference, Jonathan vowed in a CNN interview that there would be “serious advancements” against the terrorist group. But how will six weeks help?
Nigeria: Vote delay prompts suspicion of election rigging, worries of violence | The Washington Post
It had been two days since Nigeria’s presidential election was postponed at the behest of the military, and Idayat Hassan’s phone was ringing nonstop. “It’s like a coup against democracy,” said the director of the Center for Democracy and Development to the ninth or 10th reporter of the day. “It’s like blackmail,” Hassan said when her phone rang again. “I’m very worried,” she said to a colleague, and now she hung up the phone, put her head in her hands and sighed. “After 16 years of democracy — this.” This: For weeks, Africa’s most populous nation appeared to be barreling toward its most fiercely competitive election since it returned to civilian rule in 1999, a race between President Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari, a former military dictator. Hassan and others were training poll watchers. Ballot boxes were being distributed across the country. And Nigerians, from elite professionals to street hawkers, were beginning to sense a startling possibility: An election could actually kick the ruling party out. Except that then it all came to a grinding stop.
Nigeria’s presidential election on March 28 will not take place peacefully, AbuBakr Shekau, leader of Boko Haram, has said in a new video purportedly released by the group. In the video, released on social media on Tuesday and obtained by US based SITE intelligence group, Shekau issued a warning to the Goodluck Jonathan’s government that next month’s elections would be disrupted with violence. “Allah will not leave you to proceed with these elections even after us, because you are saying that authority is from people to people, which means that people should rule each other, but Allah says that the authority is only to him, only his rule is the one which applies on this land,” he said. “And finally we say that these elections that you are planning to do, will not happen in peace, even if that costs us our lives.
In northeast Nigeria, insurgent group Boko Haram group has distributed leaflets warning people to boycott the March 28 nationwide elections. But that is not the only threat to security, People are moving their families away from sites of possible tension around the country and are preparing for unrest once results are announced. From the Niger Delta to far northeast, the pre-election period has become a time of migration for some Nigerians. VOA met several on the streets of Kaduna. “My wife has been pestering me for the past three months,” said a man. “Even today, she called me to say ‘Are we ready to move to a safer ground?’” “Nobody wants to die for nothing. I myself, I am planning to relocate to the southern part of Kaduna where I will not be hearing sounds of war, drums of crisis, burning of tires and teargas, and all those kind of things,” said a woman.
There is mixed reaction to the six-week postponement of Nigeria’s presidential and parliamentary elections. The vote was delayed by the nation’s Independent National Electoral Commission, primarily because of security concerns in northeastern Nigeria. INEC Chairman Atthiru Jega announced the change a week ago, saying the elections would be held March 28. President Goodluck Jonathan appeared on television to express his disappointment about the postponement but noted that the war against Boko Haram in the northeast was intensifying. Adebowale Adefuye, Nigeria’s ambassador to the United States, said Wednesday on VOA’s “Straight Talk Africa” that he was confident the election would be aboveboard and honest.
Nigeria’s electoral commission has delayed the Presidential election, which was to occur this Saturday, by six weeks in order for the military to launch an operation to secure the northeast from Boko Haram and guarantee the safety of voters in the region. President Goodluck Jonathan, whose government is undeniably corrupt and who could well lose the election to his challenger, the former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, stands to benefit from the postponement. It’s true that people in the northeast would find it difficult to vote: more than a million and a half of them have fled their homes, while others are living under Boko Haram occupation or have been warned by the Islamist terrorists not to participate in the election. It’s also true that Boko Haram’s insurgency began almost six years ago. If the government can neutralize the group in just six weeks, what has taken so long?
The six-week delay in Nigeria’s presidential election has raised red flags both in the international community and among local political and civil rights groups, with many concerned about the independence of the country’s electoral commission and whether the military hierarchy had too much say in the matter. President Goodluck Jonathan and his chief rival, former military dictator Muhammadu Buhari, are facing off in what is probably the tightest presidential contest in the history of Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and its economic powerhouse, so any change like moving back election day is seen as suspicious and a possible game-changer. Many international observers had already arrived in the country and foreign journalists were struggling to obtain visas when Nigeria’s electoral commission announced Saturday it was postponing the Feb. 14 presidential and legislative elections until March 28.
Nigerian authorities came under fire on Sunday over the decision to postpone national elections in the face of relentless Boko Haram violence, with the opposition branding the move a “major setback for democracy”. Nigeria’s electoral commission announced over the weekend that the presidential and parliamentary polls would be postponed from February 14 to March 28. The announcement came after weeks of near-daily attacks by the insurgents in the north-east, which had threatened the safety of the vote. But some observers charged that the political woes of incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan — who faces a stiff challenge in his re-election bid against ex-military ruler Muhammadu Buhari — were the real reason for the delay.
Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan held talks Thursday on postponing next week’s presidential election over mounting attacks by the radical Boko Haram group, but the election commission insisted on maintaining the date, a governor said. Jonathan held seven hours of talks with security officials, state governors, the election commission and former heads of state on whether to proceed with the vote in the face of growing bloodshed in the northeast, Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha told journalists. Among those attending the meeting of the Council of State was Jonathan’s main challenger in the election, General Muhammadu Buhari, a former military ruler, who led Nigeria between 1983 and 1985.
Nigeria’s election body said Wednesday that it may push back the deadline for distributing voter identity cards but denied media reports that the vote itself could be postponed. The spokesman for Independent National Election Commission (INEC), Kayode Idowu, told AFP that the body may allow voter ID cards to be handed out after the current February 8 deadline. However he described media reports about a possible election postponement as “completely false”.
Nigeria’s main opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) party said its presidential candidate, former General Muhammadu Buhari, will not accept any attempt by the government to postpone the February 14 vote. APC National Public Secretary Lai Mohamed said the government of President Goodluck Jonathan, who is seeking re-election, has been canvassing media houses trying to influence editorial opinion in favor of a postponement. The ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has not directly come out in favor of postponement, but National Security Advisor Sambo Dasuki suggested last week that the elections should be delayed because not all voter cards had been distributed. The government has accused the opposition of politicizing the threat of the Islamic insurgency, Boko Haram.
The spokesman for Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says the February 14 presidential and gubernatorial elections will proceed as originally planned. Some recent reports had said the vote could be postponed. Kayode Idowu said the electoral body had updated its plans to administer elections in areas where residents often come under attack from radical Islamist militant group, Boko Haram. “The commission is doing everything it has to do to be in a position to conduct elections on February 14 and February 28 this year,” said Idowu. A senior security adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan is reported to have suggested that the election be postponed because of security challenges in parts of the country.
The head of Nigeria’s electoral commission said on Tuesday the country will hold a presidential election as scheduled on Feb. 14, rejecting a call from one of the president’s advisors to delay them. “We remain committed to implementing the timetable,” commission head Attahiru Jega told a news conference. President Goodluck Jonathan’s National Security Advisor Sambo Dasuki said last week that Nigeria should delay the election to allow more time for permanent voter cards (PVCs) to be distributed. Some 30 million have yet to be handed out. “We do not believe that the challenges of PVC distribution are such that it warrants rescheduling the election,” Jega said.
Concerned that Nigeria could face postelection turmoil, Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday urged President Goodluck Jonathan and his principal political rival to respect the results of next month’s presidential vote and to discourage their supporters from carrying out violent protests. “It is imperative that these elections happen on time, as scheduled, and that they are an improvement over past elections,” Mr. Kerry said in a news conference at the end of his visit here. But a major attack by Boko Haram militants on Sunday in Maiduguri, a major city in northeastern Nigeria, demonstrated the challenge that confronts the Obama administration as it tries to develop a strategy to help stabilize the strategically important nation. Mr. Kerry said there was evidence that the militants from the Islamic State group, which has declared a caliphate in eastern Syria and northern and western Iraq, were now making an effort to forge alliances with terrorist groups in Africa.
Goodluck Jonathan has visited the northeast of his country amidst escalating Boko Haram violence. Ahead of next month’s election, over one million people have fled the troubled area, possibly relinquishing their vote. Johnathan arrived in the capital of Borno State, the heart of the Boko Haram insurgency, on Wednesday afternoon local time, according to an AFP journalist. He was accompanied by the chief of defense staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh, as well as other high-ranking military officers and some 200 soldiers. “What you’re doing is not easy,” he told officers at an army barracks in Maiduguri. “We thank you as a nation … We’re working day and night, trying to curtail this madness,” he added.
Nigeria has re-registered around 10 million voters wrongly struck off the roll a year ago due to technical glitches, leaving Africa’s most populous nation with an electorate of 68.8 million, the electoral commission said on Wednesday. The opposition cried foul when millions of voters were struck out because of biodata collection failures, taking the registered number down from 70.4 million to just 58.9 million. But the commission announced the final tally of permanent voter ID cards during a press conference on Tuesday evening. “Even though their finger prints were not captured the first time, they had an opportunity to come out and re-register,” commission spokesman Kayode Idowu said by telephone. “The final list has captured everyone.”
Tujja Masa won’t dare vote in Nigeria’s presidential election next month. The 50-year-old farmer is one of the hundreds of thousands who’ve fled their northeastern villages to escape gun and bomb attacks by Islamist militants. Raids last week were said to have killed hundreds of people in the town of Baga, while a girl as young as 10 detonated explosives at a market in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state. The self-declared leader of the Islamist Boko Haram group, Abubakar Shekau, has likened democracy to homosexuality and incest in video messages. “I am really afraid of election day,” Masa said in Maiduguri, the city in which he’s sheltering with relatives after running away from Krenoa, his village in the north of Borno state. “Honestly we are praying for God to come to our aid and have hitch-free elections, but I will not go there.” Nigeria, home to Africa’s biggest economy, oil industry and population, is stumbling toward general elections in the face of worsening violence by the Islamist group, Boko Haram, and the introduction of a biometric voter-card system designed to end ballot stuffing and fraud.
Nigeria: Electoral Commission races to get voter cards out for presidential election | Worldbulletin News
Five weeks before a presidential election, Nigeria’s electoral commission said on Friday it has not yet finished printing the cards that voters will need to present at polling stations. Of the cards that are ready, about 15 million have not yet been collected by voters, sometimes because of apathy or geographical remoteness, said electoral commission spokesman Kayode Idowu, while insisting everything would be ready on time. Commission data showed no voter cards at all had been delivered to Borno state, the region worst hit by Boko Haram militants. More than 10,000 people died last year in the violence. The Feb. 14 election in Africa’s biggest economy and leading energy producer is expected to be a close contest between President Goodluck Jonathan and his leading challenger, Muhammadu Buhari. Its conduct will be closely watched, since past polls have been marred by widespread ballot-stuffing, violence and in some cases outright fabrication of results.
More than a million Nigerians are internally displaced due to insurgency fighting in the northern part of the country, while some fear that their votes will not be counted in the upcoming 2015 general elections. On Tuesday, the Nigerian Senate urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to do all that is in their administrative power to ensure that Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) could vote in the elections. According to figures released by the United Nations agency for refugees (UNHCR) this week, the number of IDP in Nigeria has reached 1.5 million, mainly due to the rise of Boko Haram militants. The extremist group has stepped up attacks this year and declared an Islamic state in areas it controls, mainly in the north of the country.
Nigeria’s 2015 presidential elections could descend into chaos if alleged irregularities and bungling in a key local vote are repeated nationally, politicians and activists are warning. Nearly two weeks after voters went to the polls to elect a new governor in southeastern Anambra state, there is still no result and Nigeria’s electoral watchdog has ordered a re-run in some constituencies this weekend. The November 16 election in the mineral-rich state was seen as an early indication of support for President Goodluck Jonathan before his expected run for re-election in about 18 months. Jonathan’s ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been split by his election ambitions and on Tuesday a splinter group of prominent politicians and powerful governors defected to the main opposition All Progressives Congress (APC). Provisional results in Anambra gave victory to the All Progressives Grand Alliance party of incumbent governor Peter Obi – a Jonathan ally.