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Cablegate: Nigerian Gubernatorial Elections - Sitrep 2

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OO RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHUJA #0708/01 1041324
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 141324Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9179
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHWR/AMEMBASSY WARSAW 0242
RUEHCD/AMCONSUL CIUDAD JUAREZ 0238
RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS 6594
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 000708

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DOE FOR CAROLYN GAY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM NI ELECTIONS
SUBJECT: NIGERIAN GUBERNATORIAL ELECTIONS - SITREP 2

REF: ABUJA 707

ABUJA 00000708 001.4 OF 002


1. SUMMARY: With a couple of hours to go before the close
of polls, confusion continues in the Gubernatorial elections
in Nigeria. As of noon, mission, international and domestic
observers report that the majority of polling stations have
yet to receive materials. As the day wears on, more security
incidents are reported and numerous reports of upset voters
who are claiming to be disenfranchised. Nevertheless,
widespread public oppobrium is not evident at this time, but
as the number of infractions climbs, this could change. END
SUMMARY.

2. With a couple of hours to go before the close of polls,
Mission observers report that "a majority of polling
stations" in areas where voting has begun remain closed. In
almost all cases, the closures are due to a lack of materials
or the absence of security officials. In northern Kaduna
state, a predominantly Muslim area, Mission observers report
very few stations open. In one location, Mission observers
report hearing numerous claims that members of the ruling
People's Democratic Party (PDP) were allowed to vote early in
the day and that the ballot boxes were then removed from the
polling station, leaving other voters unable to cast a
ballot. The INEC Commissioner in Enugu announced that
polling will be extended to 6:00 PM due to the late delivery
of ballots. Other states are expected to follow suit.

3. Mission observers in Katsina, Sokoto, Kano, Kaduna,
Benue, Plateau, Bauchi, Gombe, Enugu, Abia, Ogun, Lagos, and
Edo states report similar problems. While some locations
have ballot papers, most locations have yet to receive
materials as of noon. Mission observers in Nasarawa and
Niger states have not reported problems with materials,
commenting that most arrive by 10:00. Nevertheless, in all
states listed in this paragraph, Mission observers report
thugs stealing boxes and people being prevented from voting.
It is unclear what relationship the voters registers have to
the people allowed to vote, with many locations not
confirming names on the list, other locations with two lists
and some locations allowing voting with or without a voters
identity card.

4. A member of the National Assembly reports that in Warri
"no voting has commenced as of 12:30." The member also
reports a heavy military presence. In spite of this, RSO
reports that three trucks of elections materials escorted by
military were hijacked and that the military was unable to
prevent the incident. In Kaduna, police contacts report a
prison escape in the midst of election confusion. No further
information is available on this incident. Police sources
also report "several police stations in flames" in Bayelsa
state. RSO and Mission observers report thugs stealing
ballot boxes and materials in Rivers, Gombe and Edo states.
Mission observers in Plateau state also report sporadic
fighting among partisans of various political parties.

5. Nigerian police contacts, Mission observers and
independent television reports say that PDP thugs and party
agents are ensuring voters cast their ballots for the PDP in
Nasarawa, Plateau, Adamawa, Rivers, Delta, Anambra and Kaduna
states, among others.

6. While early to quantify, it seems that locations without
voters lists have 600 or more ballots delivered, other
polling units with lists are receiving 100 ballots or fewer.
One poll worker in Katsina state told Mission observers that
"an INEC official" had taken his ballot box away and brought
it back with 200 or so ballots inside.

7. COMMENT: The logistics of today's polling are now
inferior to the 2003 election performance. While large areas
of the country are unable to vote, the turnout elsewhere
remains moderate at best. Even with an extension of voting
hours, it will be difficult to resolve the delivery problems
and ensure that even those that find their name on a voters
register are able to vote. Further, the spate of violent
incidents is increasing, particularly in the South-South
(delta) region and the Southeast, the two areas that the EU
report in 2003 said did not hold elections at all. END
COMMENT.

ABUJA 00000708 002.4 OF 002

8. NOTE: Embassy will prepare for separate transmission log
sheets from the days reports with a more detailed list of
occurences throughout the day. As it is virtually certain
that few polling stations will close at the projected 1500
hours, our end-of-polling assessment wil be delayed.
CAMPBELL

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