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27 March 2015
As people line up to cast their votes in Nigeria this weekend, we are focusing our efforts here at HART to highlight the news coverage of the elections. In this week’s edition of our ‘Weekly News Round Up’ we are aiming to bring you the most up to date analysis of the elections about to take place.
Nigeria Elections: General Developments
- In a closely-contested and fiercely-fought presidential election, here’s the general information you need to know about each candidate and their parties.
- Solving the problem of social injustice will be high on the agenda for voters in Nigeria as the polls open this Saturday for the presidential election.
- Meet Nigeria’s only female presidential candidate – Remi Sonaiya. The values of her party KOWA? “Honesty, truth, diligence, hard work and transparency.”
- Nigeria’s two main presidential candidates have signed a peace deal to prevent violence in the elections due this weekend.
- As land and sea borders are being closed down for the tightly contested elections during this weekend, news of Nigerian authorities confining journalists and preventing them from reporting on the elections, have also surfaced.
- S. Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield will travel to Nigeria to observe the presidential elections in an official diplomatic mission.
Nigeria Elections: Views & Analyses
- UK PM David Cameron urges current President Mr. Jonathan to ensure security during the elections, and warns that failure to do so “would risk national security and stability, and adversely affect Nigeria’s international reputation.” Meanwhile, A. Goldman, a Nigeria expert from a London-based PM consulting firm says: “There is still a suspicion that neither party appears well-suited to the trauma of defeat and that what Nigeria needs after the dust settles on this election is not just an effective government, but an effective opposition.”
- A visual electoral map projection for both candidates reflects on the possible outcomes after the elections. With an outlook on each state, the elections ‘may spring some surprises’. For the pro-APC newspapers however, the map projections are seemingly in favour of Buhari.
- Journalist and author Dayo Olopade spoke about the significance of the elections and what ordinary Nigerians are thinking when they go to the polls. The 20 minute interview contains significant analysis on some of the contentious issues around the elections this weekend. From the attribution to the rise of Boko Haram to Nigeria’s inability to find a power-sharing balance between north and south and the correlation between terrorism and representation, to the way both major candidates have handled the imminent security threat.
- ‘The super-rich don’t vote in Nigeria’: elections in the land of inequality. While the number of millionaires in Nigeria has soared over the last decade, absolute poverty has also risen from 55% to 61%. Few believe the elections will tackle this issue.
- The uncertainties and anxieties of Nigeria’s Historical Election this weekend highlight a concerning situation where clearly not everything has been addressed.
- Nigerians are wary if the voting system through the Permanent Voters Cards (PVC) – electronic cards that are being used in an attempt to prevent ballots being distorted, will actually avert election fraud.
- Chidi Odinkalu, Chairman of the Governing Council of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission discusses the possibility of Nigeria harnessing the dividends of democracy and its demographics.
- Locals claim that Boko Haram militants have kidnapped more than 400 women and children from the northern Nigerian town of Damasak, reportedly liberated this month by Niger and Chad troops. Nigeria’s government has denied that the abductions had taken place.
- Nigerian army claims to have retaken the north-eastern town of Gwoza, believed to be the headquarters of Boko Haram.
- Nigerian refugees displaced by fighting are becoming dependent on food distribution by aid organisations.
- New footage from the liberated town of Bama shows the devastation Boko Haram militants leave in their wake.
Public reactions/mood towards the elections on social media
- #NigeriaDecides has been trending people’s views on the upcoming elections this weekend.
- Social media has been filled with people encouraging others to vote and ensure they have registered their Permanent Voters Cards (PVC) and tweeters are encouraging the population to use their vote.
- People have been voicing concerns over individuals selling their PVCs to government officials, prompting some to post cartoons to persuade people against PVC fraud.
- A huge volume of tweets have been made in support of both of the main candidates, Goodluck Jonathan and Buhari and an air of suspense appears to be settling in as the feeling is that this election could go either way so long as it is allowed to run its course freely and fairly.
- Emphasis has undoubtedly been placed on the importance of peace as people remember the terrible scenes of violence following Nigeria’s last general election which killed around 800 people.
- Many are still worried about potential violence surrounding the elections. Christians in Kano have been piling onto coaches to be out of the area and avoid potential violence during the election period. Similarly, the BBC world service reported that “people say they won’t come and vote due to insecurity”.
- And a helpline has been established by Cleen Foundation for people to report any police misconduct.