Presidential, Legislative Elections Today in Nigeria

Presidential, Legislative Elections Today in Nigeria, Islamists Back Buhari

The presidential and legislative elections are taking place today, April, 21, 2007 in Nigeria amid tense atmospheres; as the opposition fears that the elections may be rigged, specially after last week’s Municipal elections witnessed rigging and violence.
The Nigerian presidential candidates are Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Umaru Yar’Adua, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate in Katsina, and the opposition candidate General Muhammadu Buhari, the former military ruler of Nigeria from 1984 to August 1985.
The municipal elections that took place last week witnessed wide-scale acts of violence and rigging; 50 persons were killed, and opposition candidate General Muhammadu Buhari describe them as “the worst elections in the Nigerian history.”
The opposition parties accused the ruling People’s Democratic Party again of working for rigging the elections; opposition sources declared that the ruling party started rigging operations through stuffing ballot boxes through mobilizing army troops, pointing out that a number of military trucks moved ballot boxes with stuffed vote papers for the ruling party in the cities of Kaduna and Katsina, north Nigeria.
Violence Marred Vote
In another evidence on the tension marring the country, news agencies reported that the Nigerian police confirmed foiling an fuel tank attack against in the Supreme Elections Committee headquarters; bursts of gunfire and dense shootings took place near the headquarters of the government of the state of Bayelsa in the oil-rich Delta region, in addition to an exchange of fire in a hotel in Bienagoua, the biggest city in east of Nigeria; while Goodluck Jonathan, vice presidential candidate for Nigeria’s ruling People’s Democratic Party, was in the region; this led to preventing him from getting out and it is still unknown whether he was the one targeted.
Islamists Back Buhari
For his part, Dawoud Omran Malasa Allah, the chairman of Muslim Cooperation group in Nigeria, said in a statement to Ikhwanweb that:” The current elections are boycotted by the Nigerian people because they are fully convinced that the ruling party will rig the election like what happened last Saturday.
Omran pointed out that last Saturday’s elections were scandalously rigged by the ruling party that won 27 seats out of a total of 36 seats.
Regarding the Islamists’ attitude towards the current elections, Omran said that the Islamists support the opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari because of his national attitudes and religiousness.
Omran pointed out that the opposition parties failed to unify their attitude towards the current elections; although the opposition agreed on boycotting the current elections, but they changed their attitude in the last minutes; the opposition groups did not agree on a single candidate as well.
Omran confirmed that the election results are considered decided for the ruling party like what happened last Saturday.
Poor North, Rich South
Nigeria faces many political, economic and social problems; many ethnic disorders take place, while fingers of accusations are directed to president Olusegun Obasanjo who is blamed for aggravating them because of not tackling them with enough firmness; there is also the file of poverty; people’s standard of living is hugely deteriorating in one a country which is considered one of the biggest oil producing countries.
Oil is considered a thorny file in Nigeria; corruption issues are wide-spread in this sector in addition to the injustice of distributing oil revenues on various regions, against the interest of the mainly Muslim regions; the world markets are worried at the beginning of the Nigerian elections lest the hostilities in the country may hinder oil supplies which are already facing successive owes in the oil-producing regions, specially the Niger delta region.
Nigeria is an Islamic state of up to 140 million population, 80% of them are Muslims and 15% are Christians, and the remaining 5 % are pagan groups which are mainly living with the Christians in the oil-rich and agricultural south and east; the Muslims are living mainly in the relatively poor north; the registered voters are about 61.5 millions.