from Africa in Transition

Delay in Nigeria’s Elections: New Reports

April 05, 2011

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Heads of State and Government

Elections and Voting

An electoral officer carries election materials as he leaves the polling centre after the postponement of the parliamentary election in Mushin neighbourhood in Nigeria's commercial Lagos. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

With the Nigerian elections postponed, new accusations of fraud have emerged. Leading opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari through his spokesman accuses Goodluck Jonathan and the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) of pressuring Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) chairman Attahiru Jega to resign from INEC. Yinka Odumakin, Buhari’s spokesman, contends the PDP, Jonathan, and their "agents” are employing “covert as well as overt pressures” to rig the election, of which Jega’s departure would be a part. According to press sources, the April 2 meeting of the Nigerian National Security Council that included Jega and Jonathan was so contentious that the former is rumored to have in fact offered his resignation, which was not accepted.

I think that the statement from Buhari’s team will make it more difficult for Jonathan to fire Jega, if that is indeed his intention, because it would lend credence to the Buhari camp’s allocation that the elections are  being rigged.