Nigeria's elections have now reached the half-way stage with the results of the Senate and National Assembly polls virtually compete and the votes from last weekend's (20 July) State Assembly elections being counted.
GV PAN Town of Ibadan
SV polling station with people queuing
SV veiled woman receiving voting papers, voting and being marked (3 shots)
TRACKING SHOT shoppers at market
SV Village polling station
SV Police arriving at polling station (2 shots)
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Background: Nigeria's elections have now reached the half-way stage with the results of the Senate and National Assembly polls virtually compete and the votes from last weekend's (20 July) State Assembly elections being counted. Although the State Governor and Presidency elections are still to come, it has already become apparent that the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) is in a strong position. This bout of election fever is the climax of a four-year programme adopted in 1975 to return the West African state to civilian rule after thirteen years under military leadership.
SYNOPSIS: The third leg of Nigeria's elections took place last Saturday (20 July). Here in Ibadan, the capital of Oyo state, voters queued up to elect candidates to their State Legislative Assembly. Throughout the country, a total of one thousand three hundred and forty seven candidates will be elected to fill seats in nineteen state assemblies. The new Nigerian Federal constitution is designed to balance power between the federal states, the federal government and the executive president. Five political parties are contesting the elections -- all of them fairly leftwing. But only two show signs of much nationwide appeal so far -- the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) and the United Party of Nigeria (UPN) So far voting has been orderly. Strict precautions have been taken to prevent anyone from voting twice and armed police patrol the polling stations. Nigeria's leader General Olusegun Obasanjo promised to ensure "free and fair" elections and candidates have been carefully screened -- more than eight hundred were disqualified for tax evasion.
For many Nigerians the elections hold the promise of greater political participation and greater freedom, but the new government is going to have a tough time holding the country's forty eight million voters together. The memory of the brutal civil war ten years ago -- in which about one million people are believed to have died -- is still fresh and tribal, ethnic, religious and regional divisions are still far from healed.