Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Nigeria state poll peaceful despite a call for Biafrans to boycott

A gubernatorial poll in Nigeria’s Anambra state passed off largely without incident, despite fears of violence after pro-Biafran separatists called for a boycott.

The incumbent governor, Willie Obiano, of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, was announced the victor on Sunday, scoring a widely-expected win.

But attention was focused on turnout because of the call by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) group for people to stay at home.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) representative in the state, Nkwachukwu Orji, told AFP: “Saturday’s election was smooth and peaceful.

“The turn-out of voters was not bad in view of the prevailing circumstances. The turnout was about 22 percent of eligible voters.”

IPOB, which wants a referendum on secession for the Igbo people who dominate the southeast, has claimed its boycott was upheld.

But others pointed out that turnout for governorship and state elections in Nigeria is always low. During the last state elections in 2013, turnout in Anambra was 26.3 percent, INEC figures show.

The Premium Times news site said turnout had not been above 50 percent since 1999, when Nigeria returned to civilian rule after decades of military government.

To secure Saturday’s vote, the state had been turned into a fortress with an extra 26,000 police officers on duty, backed by surveillance helicopters and even gunboats.

In a statement, security officials said an unspecified number of people had been arrested, among them “troublemakers, political thugs, including IPOB members desirous of causing crises”.

The Nigerian government has designated IPOB a terrorist organisation and its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, is on trial for treason.

Civil society observers said “fears of massive violence, voter apathy and a low turnout” did not materialise, adding that there was no concern about “over-policing”.

But the Situation Room, a coalition of pro-governance non-governmental organisations monitoring the vote, noted “blatant incidents of vote-buying” by major parties.

“Party agents stationed themselves at PUs (polling units) paying voters sums ranging from 500 to 5,000 naira ($1.40 to $14) to vote in favour of their candidates,” it said.

“This emerging impunity of vote-buying, happening in the full glare of security officials, appears to be a dangerous trend in our elections that needs to be addressed urgently.”

© Agence France-Presse

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Agence France Presse
Agence France Presse works from worldwide. AFP Photo's official Twitter account. Tweeting news and features from Agence France-Presse's global photo network Agence France Presse has over 120540 followers on Twitter.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Canna-business deal for Ingonyama Trust land

Foreign investment has been lined up for a joint venture with the Ingonyama Trust Board, which administers tribal land for the Zulu monarch

NPA ‘refuses’ to prosecute Oscar Mabuyane

The Hawks have accused the NPA of ‘dragging its feet’ despite voluminous evidence against the Eastern Cape premier

More top stories

ANC Durban election candidate shot dead while on door-to-door campaign

One other man was shot dead and two others were rushed to hospital with gunshot wounds

Rule of law drops globally, including in South Africa

Security and corruption prevents the country from ranking higher on the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index for 2021

Slice of life: ‘I can read nine or 10 books...

David van der Westhuizen, a street bookseller based at the KwaZulu-Natal Society of the Arts Gallery in Durban, tells Paddy Harper how he survives unemployment

South Africa opens up vaccinations for 12 to 17 year-olds

Vaccinology researcher Professor Shabir Madhi said young people were being vaccinated to reduce the number of people who could transmit the virus and the focus should instead be on people over the age of 50
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×