John Campbell

Africa in Transition

Campbell tracks political and security developments across sub-Saharan Africa.

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Nigeria’s Election Preparations

by John Campbell
February 24, 2011

Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman Attahiru Jega speaks during an interview with Reuters in Nigeria's federal capital Abuja January 28, 2011. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

Nigerian elections preparations continue to focus international attention. The highly respected International Crisis Group has just issued a report that highlights challenges faced by INEC chairman Attahiru Jega. It notes that he inherited an organization complicit in the 2007 election rigging and that his control over it is by no means absolute. Sahara Reporters is saying that in some parts of the country, exaggerated voter registration numbers are preparing the way for a repeat of the 2007 rigging. And AP reports on the scarcity of public posts of voter verification lists, the means by which registrations can be verified.

On the other hand, the National Steering Committee of Project Swift Count saw significant operational improvements as the voter registration process proceeded. Spokesmen for the Jonathan administration are also still insisting that the April 2011 elections will be free, fair, and credible. My hopes are more modest: that they will be notably better than they were in 2007, and that the results will be generally accepted by Nigerians.

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