Election Chief Wants April Vote | Nigeria
The head of Nigeria’s electoral commission is suggesting that national elections be postponed from January to April, to allow more time to prepare for the vote. Electoral commission chairman Attahiru Jega said Tuesday his agency would face considerable obstacles if the vote must take place in January, as currently planned. Jega said he has asked political leaders to consider all options for extending the timetable for the elections – three rounds of voting during which Nigerians will choose their next president, legislators and state governors. Jega said the current timeline is not impossible, but that it leaves no room for “small errors” which could jeopardize the entire process of voter registration. Nigeria has traditionally held its presidential election in April, but earlier this year lawmakers moved the ballot forward to January, to allow more time after the vote for the resolution of election disputes. REST OPT Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission has no authority on its own to change the current election dates in January. The presidential election is set for January 22, with parliamentary elections coming a week earlier and state elections a week later. Voter registration is currently scheduled to be held during the first 14 days of November. President Goodluck Jonathan is facing at least four challengers for the ruling party’s presidential nomination, all coming from the country’s mainly Muslim north. People’s Democratic Party members are debating whether to nominate a Christian or a Muslim for president. The party has a custom of rotating the presidency between a northern Muslim and a southern Christian every two terms. Mr. Jonathan’s predecessor, Umaru Yar’Adua, was a Muslim, while Mr. Jonathan is a Christian. Mr. Yar’Adua died in May, just three years into what was expected to be an eight-year presidency. Some information in this story was provided by AP and AFP.