Nigeria’s electoral agency on Monday postponed publication of the results of a gubernatorial poll in southwestern Ekiti state because of security concerns and voter intimidation in some areas. Ekiti residents over the weekend voted in a re-run of the 2007 gubernatorial election, which was annulled by an appeals court last February due to electoral law violations.
The poll is being closely watched by local and foreign observers to see whether Nigeria has improved its electoral process since the flawed 2007 national election. Africa’s most populous country holds its next presidential poll in two years. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it was forced to delay the Ekiti election results because of violence in two voting wards and the town of Oye, home to around 18,000 voters.
“The early stages of the election on Saturday started very well and were quite impressive and smooth. Later on a serious security situation set in as politicians and their gangs moved to undermine the process,” said INEC Chairman Maurice Iwu. “The commission has no choice but to postpone the remaining election (results).” The agency did not say when election results would be finalized.
Preliminary election results showed a close governor’s race between the two candidates of Action Congress and President Umaru Yar’Adua’s People’s Democratic Party, according to local media outlets. Yar’Adua promised to institute much-needed electoral reforms after the April 2007 federal polls, which brought him to power, were so marred by ballot-stuffing and voter irregularities that local and foreign observers said they were not credible.
SOURCED FROM REUTERS