Presidential Election Sparks Riots in Nigeria

Posted: April 18, 2011 in International

Riots have broken out in parts of Nigeria following the announcement of Goodluck Johnathan as the countries president. Jonathan took 22.5 million votes almost 59 per cent while his main challenger, ex-military ruler Muhammad Buhari took only 12.2 million votes (32 per cent). Nuhu Ribadu, the country’s former anti-corruption czar who was also in the presidential race representing his Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) party, won just 5.4 per cent of the vote.

Mr Buhari’s party the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), told Al Jazeera that the poll had been systemically rigged after Mr Jonathan, who has long been seen as the front-runner, secured victory.”We have evidence in our hands that the computers [used in the voting process], were programmed to produce rigged results.”

Protesting youths challenged soldiers deployed to the streets of Nigeria’s second-largest city of Kano, and troops sought to push them back, an AFP correspondent said. Several incidents of violence have been reported, including a church being burned down in the state of Kaduna. Protesters stopped cars and demanded that passengers express support for Buhari, whose stronghold is in the north. A police spokesman said security had been deployed to the city of Sokoto to contain youths burning bonfires in protest over the vote.

Goodluck Jonathan, the Nigerian president, has urged an end to “sporadic unrest” after deadly riots erupted in the country’s north following results showing him winning elections. “I appeal to those involved to stop this unnecessary and avoidable conduct, no one’s political ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian,” a statement from Jonathan’s office said on Monday.

Jonathan, 53, is the first president from the main oil-producing Niger Delta region. He occupied the post after the death of the country’s elected Muslim leader. Many of the north’s elite wanted the ruling party to honour an unwritten power-sharing agreement – known as “zoning” – calling for a Muslim candidate to run in this election, yet Jonathan prevailed in the party’s primary.

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