General Election today
73.5 million registered Nigerian voters will go to the polls today (2nd April 2011) to vote for 360 members of the House of Representatives and 109 Senators.
This will be the third set of democratic elections since the end of military rule in 1999, with the presidential election on 9th April and elections for state governors and legislators on 16th April. Results are expected within two days.
The exercise for this round of elections has seen a major logistical exercise being run in the hope that accusations of fraud and election rigging, that have dogged previous elections, can be avoided.
Included in the changes made was a new registration process which included the use of direct data capture (DDC) machines which record fingerprints. These will be used from 0800 local time for a period of ‘accreditation’ to stop multiple voting and then the actual vote will start from 1230 local time and continue until everyone has voted.
The whole project, which has included special security arrangements and the recruiting and training of temporary staff has been run by a new Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In total there will be 120,000 polling booths across the 36 states. Traditionally the People’s Democratic Party has dominated the parliament, but observers are suggesting that they will suffer some losses today.