National Assembly election results
|Party||Senate (85 seats)||House of Representatives (279 seats)|
|People's Democratic Party (PDP)||53||152|
|Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN)||18||53|
|All Nigeria people's Party (ANPP)||4||23|
|Congress of Progressive Change (CPC)||6||31|
Presidential election results
|Candidate (Party)||No. of votes||% of votes|
|Goodluck Jonathan (PDP)||22 495 187||58,89%|
|Muhammadu Buhari (CPC)||12 214 853||31,98%|
|Nuhu Ribadu (CPC)||2 079 151||5,41%|
|Ibrahim Shekarau (ANPP)||917 012||5,41%|
|Others||1 703 281||1,32%|
The 2011 general elections in Nigeria are considered to have been the most peaceful in the country’s turbulent history, despite 200 people dying in the aftermath of the vote. The electoral process was given the thumbs up and generally declared free and fair by the election observers, despite isolated incidents of booth capturing and a one week delay in the Parliamentary election due to the nonarrival of ballot papers in Abuja.
Incumbent Goodluck Jonathan, a southern Christian, won just under 59% of the vote, compared with his nearest rival, Muhammaddu Buhari, who won just over 31% of the vote. Jonathan polled well in the southern states, which are Christian dominated. Jonathan also secured an 80% majority in the Delta states. Overall, the incumbent secured 90% of the votes in the south.
Conversely, Buhari dominated in the Muslim north. The turnout was much lower, however, which adversely affecting Buhari’s overall tally. Buhari and his supporters cried fraud over the results, leading to riots breaking out in the northern regions, despite the election being largely declared free and fair by observers in the country.
The situation in Nigeria turned violent once the poll results were announced. The violence had a religious undertone to it, with Islamists loyal to Buhari burning houses and shops owned by southerners and randomly attacking Christian places of worship.
Many northern Nigerian politicians believe that Jonathan, by standing for the presidency, broke the unwritten rule that the country’s top job should be rotated between north and south candidates every eight years. In this light, the PDP, in its opinion, should have nominated a Muslim candidate as opposed to the Christian Jonathan.
Both Jonathan and Buhari have denounced the violence, with the latter saying that the violence is worse than election rigging. Jonathan followed suite by saying that “No one’s political ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian.”
Although the initial killings and rioting have calmed down since the release of the results, the situation on the ground remains tense, with Buhari persistently criticising the process and the outcome.
With the international community supporting the election result, incumbent Jonathan is set to remain in office for the next four years. Further, the country’s military, which is notorious for its coups, is firmly behind Jonathan’s civilian government. He is also the US’ preferred candidate, and also preferred by multinational oil companies’ operating in the Niger Delta.
Jonathan faces a number of challenges with his election. The most immediate is to restore calm to the country following the postelection violence. Thereafter, he faces the bigger problems of alleviating poverty, healing religious and ethnic tensions and ensuring stability in the volatile Niger Delta.
African Elections Database. Elections in Nigeria (April 29, 2011).
BBC. Nigeria election: riots over Goodluck Jonathan win (April 18, 2011).
Nigeria Election Coalition. National Assembly Election 2011 (April 28, 2011).
VOANews. Elections show progress of Nigeria’s democracy (May 4, 2011).
World Affairs. State of strife (April 29, 2011).