Opposition parties gain ground in Nigeria Parl polls

Nigeria counted votes polled in the April 9 parliamentary elections that were marred by delays and violence and preliminary results showed that the ruling party was loosening its grip over power.

Updated: Apr 10, 2011, 23:45 PM IST

Abuja: Nigeria on Sunday counted votes polled
in the April 9 parliamentary elections that were marred by
delays and violence and preliminary results showed that the
ruling party was loosening its grip over power.

As results started to trickle in around Africa`s most
populous nation, the opposition parties appeared to gaining
more grounds.

President Goodluck Jonathan`s ruling People`s
Democratic Party (PDP) is expected to see its parliamentary
majority weaken, coming under strong pressure from the
opposition Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the southwest
and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in parts of the
north.

ACN and erstwhile little know CPC won parliamentary
seats in their traditional strongholds and also in some areas
known to be controlled by the PDP.

Preliminary results released at some polling units
forecast the possibility of speaker of the house of
representative Dimeji Bankole of the PDP losing his seat.

The daughter of former president Olusegun Obasanjo,
Senator Iyabo Obasanjo of the same party may also lose her
seat in southern Ogun State.

CPC registered significant wins at several wards in
the nation`s capital of Abuja as well as in northern states of
Kano and Kaduna.

The twice-postponed parliamentary polls were the first
of three-stage crucial elections this month, with presidential
elections this coming Saturday and governorship and state
assembly ballots on April 26.

Millions turned out for parliamentary polls despite
violence and warnings by an Islamic sect, Boko Haram that it
would target voting centres.

A bomb blast at a polling station in northern state
of Maiduguri killed 10 persons including a police woman on
duty yesterday and another had claimed 5 lives at an
Independent National Electoral Commission`s (INEC) office in
northern Niger state the previous day.

President Goodluck Jonathan who is a member of the
People`s Democratic Party (PDP) has been praised by bloggers
on twitter and Facebook as having fulfilled his promise to
conduct free and fair election in a country where polls are
frequently described as flawed.

"President Jonathan and the chairman of INEC
professor Attahiru Jega cannot be at every village to oversee
the elections but they need our commendation for a very
credible polls. For the first time peoples` choices are being
reflected in the counting," Ositadinma Ugbogu, a public
analyst and social science professor at Abia State University
told PTI.

Last Saturday, several people had voted all over the
country before the INEC chairman, Jega announced a
postponement.

Nigeria returned to a civilian rule in 1999.
It is the third time general elections are being held
in Nigeria since military rule ended.

The previous ones - in 2003 and 2007 - were marred by
allegations of widespread rigging, voter intimidation and
ballot vote snatching.

PTI