Nigeria Votes: Polls Remain Open Despite Violence
The barriers to voting have stacked up, but Nigeria has not given up. Once the dust settles, citizens of Africa's most populous nation are hoping that their efforts have not been in vain.
An update from South Africa's Mail & Guardian:
attempt to blow up the electoral headquarters with a petrol tanker,
attacks by thugs, missing ballot papers and low turnout undermined
Nigeria's presidential election on Saturday.
The vote should seal the first handover from one civilian president
to another in Africa's most populous nation, scarred by three decades
of corrupt military rule, and has been seen as a possible democratic
beacon for the continent.
But opposition parties said there were many problems with ballots,
voting began late or not at all in some places and political thugs
stole ballot boxes.
Hundreds of youths wielding sticks smashed cars and set fire to
roadside shacks in Daura, the northern home town of leading opposition
candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, after his supporters reported thousands of
The crowd dispersed after Buhari called for a peaceful vote.
Opposition parties accused the ruling People's Democratic Party
(PDP) of removing ballots from secure compounds operated by the
Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec) and marking them up
"What has happened right now across the country has shown the PDP,
the government, Inec and some law enforcement agencies are not prepared
to have a free and fair election," Buhari said.
Local media reported little or no voting in the south-eastern states
of Enugu and Anambra, where people said they were disenfranchised.
Thugs in Kano armed with swords and guns stole ballot boxes, while
an election official in south-western Ondo state was abducted by a gang
dressed in police and army uniforms.[/q]
Earlier, via BBC News:
Landmark Nigerian presidential polls will not go into a second day despite long delays in getting materials to polling stations, say officials.
But those still queuing at the official closing time of 1700 (1600 GMT) would be able to vote, election commission official Philip Umeadi told the BBC.
Many of the 120,000 polling stations remained shut hours after polls opened.
Turnout was low in many areas and there were several violent incidents, notably an attempt to blow up the election HQ.
The European observer team strongly criticised some aspects of the voting saying there had been no improvements on last weekend's state elections which were marred by fraud.
The election should result in the first transfer of power between civilian presidents since independence - but BBC reporters across Africa's most populous country reported numerous problems.
Unrest before and after last week's polls left up to 50 people dead.
In the presidential election, the Independent National
Electoral Commission (Inec) delayed polling by two hours after they
reprinted some 60m ballot papers to include Vice-President Atiku
Abubakar following a court ruling on Monday. They arrived from South
Africa on Friday evening.
Additional coverage here:
Violence on Eve of Election