Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Saturday, April 16, 2011

First signs are good

The Nigerian presidential election begins well.

Nigerians Turn Out for Presidential Vote
Nigerians voted in masses on Saturday in what they hope will be their first credible presidential election for decades and could set an example across Africa.

Queues formed early across Nigeria, including the village of tin-roofed shacks in the Niger Delta where front-runner President Goodluck Jonathan voted and the dusty alleyway in the northern village of Daura where his main rival, former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, cast his ballot.

Across most of the country of 150 million there was no sign of the chaos and violence that has dogged past elections although two bombs panicked voters in the troubled northeastern city of Maiduguri. There were no reports of casualties…

The stakes are higher in the presidential race than the parliamentary election and the security agencies are on high alert. Land borders were closed and a curfew imposed overnight.

"If Nigeria gets it right, it will impact positively on the rest of the continent and show the rest of the world that Africa is capable of managing its electoral processes," said former Ghanaian President John Kufuor, who is leading an observer mission from the African Union.

"If Nigeria gets it wrong, it will have a negative influence on the continent with dire consequences," he said.

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