Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Analysing the Nigerian election

Here's an excellent BBC analysis of next Saturday's election in Nigeria.

Nigerian elections: Goodluck Jonathan vs Muhammadu Buhari II
Nigeria's presidential election on 14 February promises to be a closely fought rematch between incumbent Goodluck Jonathan and former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari…

Past elections have been marred by violence and allegations of vote-rigging. Since campaigning began in mid-November, both the ruling and opposition camps have reported violent attacks against their supporters…

Fourteen candidates are contesting the election but only Mr Jonathan and Gen Buhari have a realistic chance of winning.

President Jonathan is seeking a second four-year term. His People's Democratic Party (PDP) has dominated Nigerian politics since civilian rule was restored in 1999 but now faces its toughest election challenge from Gen Buhari's alliance of opposition parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Mr Jonathan is expected to do well on homeground in the mainly Christian south…

Former military ruler retired Gen Buhari has lost the last three elections…

He is said to be extremely popular in the mainly Muslim north and has in the past supported the implementation of Islamic law there.

Gen Buhari is also expected to do well in the south-west around the commercial capital Lagos.

But former militants in the oil-rich southern Niger Delta have endorsed Mr Jonathan's candidacy and warned of violence if Gen Buhari wins…

While the personalities of the two main candidates have been at the forefront of this election campaign, certain key issues - namely insecurity, elite corruption among high-profile politicians and business leaders and the state of the economy - have become increasingly important to voters… [See the original article for an outline of the candidates' positions.]

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has promised a clean ballot. All 14 candidates have signed an agreement binding them to credible and non-violent elections. Official campaigning is due to end on 12 February.

To win in the first round, a candidate needs more than 50% of the national vote and at least 25% of the votes in two-thirds of Nigeria's 36 states.

Biometric cards will be used for the first time but the INEC says less than half of the nearly 70 million eligible voters have obtained their identity cards. The minimum voting age is 18…

Polls will open at 0800 local time (0700GMT). All voters must be present at their designated polling station by 1300 local time (1200GMT) at the latest to be allowed to cast their ballot. Polls will close when the last person in the queue has voted…

INEC has approved the presence of international and local observers to monitor the elections, although the European Union says its observers will not deploy in the north-east due to security concerns…

If there is no outright winner in the first round, the law states a run-off election must be held within seven days. But INEC has said it is doubtful whether a run-off vote could be organized in a week. Victory in a run-off election is by simple majority.

Parliamentary elections also take place on the 14 February, with 739 candidates vying for a place in the 109-seat Senate and 1,780 seeking election to the 360-seat National Assembly.

Nigerians will vote again on 28 February to choose new governors and state assemblies for 29 of the 36 states.

Like the president, governors are limited to two four-year terms, so this election will see a new set of occupants in many states.

Governors hold huge sway because they allocate federally disbursed revenue and shape policy on development and security in their states…

Candidate profiles: Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari

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3 Comments:

At 11:43 AM, Blogger Ken Wedding said...

It's noon (CST) in this part of the USA. There are two conflicting reports from Nigeria. The first from the BBC, the second from the Associated Press. We'll see...


No delay to poll, says council of state
Nigeria's influential council of state has decided to press ahead with presidential elections on 14 February, rejecting calls for a postponement.


Nigeria's national security adviser had called for a delay to allow more time for voter card distribution...


Nigeria postpones elections amid violence
Nigeria’s electoral commission will postpone Feb. 14 presidential and legislative elections for six weeks...


The Nigerian official, who is knowledgeable of the discussions, said the Independent National Electoral Commission will announce the postponement later Saturday. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue...

 
At 12:01 PM, Blogger Ken Wedding said...

A news source opposed to the president's reelection offers this analysis.

Jega Being Forced To Announce Six-Week Postponement, But President Jonathan Wants Him Sacked

Attahiru Jega, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), is close to bowing to fierce pressure by announcing a six-week postponement of the February general elections. However, even though Mr. Jega is all but certain to do the bidding of President Goodluck Jonathan by setting a latter date for the elections, our sources in the Presidency insist that Mr. Jega will not survive as INEC chair much longer if plans by the Presidency to sack him materialize.

SaharaReporters has consistently reported that President Jonathan and his closest associates have been desperate to postpone the elections to enable them to re-strategize in the face of certain signs that Mr. Jonathan and his party were on the cusp of losing by a wide margin.

Once Mr. Jega makes it official that the elections will be postponed, Mr. Jonathan and members of his close-knit kitchen cabinet plan to intensify their plot to plant an interim government after successfully removing Mr. Jega as INEC chairman...

The real agenda of President Jonathan’s inner circle is two-fold, according to information obtained from sources in the Presidency. The first is a desperate desire to get tenure extension at all cost through the backdoor. The second is to buy enough time to prepare the army to help rig the elections in favor of Mr. Jonathan should the incumbent president and the PDP continue to face bleak prospects in the polls.

Two sources at the Presidency disclosed that Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke was particularly rattled at the prospect of Mr. Jonathan’s defeat. Ms. Alison-Madueke, who has engineered several shady deals in the oil sector that enabled her, Mr. Jonathan and a few cronies to pocket billions of dollars, is described of deeply scared of exposure and possible jail time should Mr. Jonathan lose the elections...

A source close to the Presidency also disclosed that Mr. Jonathan had struck a multibillion-dollar deal with Chadian President Idris Deby to outsource the fight against Boko Harm to Chad. With Chad now fighting Boko Haram on Nigerian territory, President Jonathan and his backers within the military would have enough troops to deploy to help rig the elections, said the source...

 
At 11:44 AM, Blogger Ken Wedding said...

And the next day word from The New York Times:

Nigeria Postpones Elections, Saying Security Is a Concern

Nigeria’s election agency on Saturday night put off a closely contested presidential election after weeks of pressure to postpone it from the ruling party, which analysts say was facing potential defeat for the first time in more than 15 years...

The election, originally scheduled for next Saturday, will now be held March 28, the election agency head told a news conference in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, late Saturday night. The elections official, Attahiru Jega, after days of what were reportedly heated meetings with the government, cited “security” concerns for the delay. He said that Nigeria’s top military men — themselves close to the government — refused to ensure that security would be “guaranteed” if the vote went ahead as scheduled...

Darren Kew, a Nigeria expert at the University of Massachusetts Boston, said: “This is a sign of panic on the part of supporters of the president and the ruling party. The real reason behind it is the opposition is surging right now.”

Mr. Jega, the elections official, was presented with a “fait accompli” by the country’s generals, Mr. Kew said, when security for the election was “withdrawn,” adding that “most of the upper brass is very close to the presidency.”...

Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement on Saturday saying that the United States was disappointed by the decision to postpone the election in Nigeria...

 

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