Monday, 18 April 2011

Nigeria: President Jonathan ahead in the running

Nigeria went into shut-down last night ahead of the presidential election on Saturday 16th April. A curfew on movement came into effect throughout the country at 22.00 last night amid concerns about political violence and possible bombings by dissident Niger Delta and Islamist groups. All political campaigning for the presidency was halted on Friday 15th April.

As Nigeria headed for its third successive presidential election since the 1999 return to civilian rule, incumbent President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was seen by most commentators to have the advantage for two reasons. Besides the disarray amongst the opposition parties is the ability of his much better funded political machine to secure results at the ballot box, however, controversial the circumstances may be.

The Jonathan Campaign Team feel that they have done enough and are taking comfort from the results of the National Assembly elections which were held last week on the 9th April. Although the ruling Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP) was wiped out in the South West - with opposition Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) making a clean sweep - the PDP vote held up surprisingly well in parts of the North at the expense of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC).

The PDP appeared to secure stunning and therefore highly controversial results in Kebbi and Jigawa States, making clean sweeps in areas thought to be home turf for the CPC and its presidential candidate, Lt Gen Muhammadu Buhari (retd).

While the results declared indicate that the PDP will keep control of the Senate, such was the scale of the losses in the South West, that the PDP may have lost its majority in the House of Representatives. That could pose serious problems for the future legislative program of the next government.

For more news and expert analysis about Nigeria, please see Nigeria Focus and Nigeria Politics & Security.

© 2011 Menas Associates

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