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Cablegate: Nigeria's Presidential Elections - Sitrep 3

VZCZCXRO2845
OO RUEHMA
DE RUEHUJA #0759 1111926
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 211926Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9256
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHWR/AMEMBASSY WARSAW 0269
RUEHCD/AMCONSUL CIUDAD JUAREZ 0265
RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS 6657
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 ABUJA 000759

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DOE FOR CAROLYN GAY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM NI ELECTIONS
SUBJECT: NIGERIA'S PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS - SITREP 3

REF: ABUJA 758 AND PREVIOUS

1. (U) SUMMARY: The balloting in Nigeria's Presidential
and National Assembly elections has been plagued by
logistical shortcomings and voter apathy Our observers
report overall turnout throughout the nation was no more than
25 percent of registered voters. Most polls are closing, but
Mission observers have been unable to witness collation
activities. The security situation remains stable. INEC
Chairman Maurice Iwu is congratulating himself on a job well
done, but no announcement has been made about the absence of
ballots for many national assembly races. Theft of ballot
boxes took an upswing towards the end of the day. This is
the last Embassy sitrep for today. END SUMMARY.

LOGISTICS
---------

2. (U) The balloting in Nigeria's Presidential and National
Assembly elections is basically finished at 1930 local time.
Voter turnout was low throughout the country, with our
observers reporting less than ten percent in the South South
and the Southeast zones. The turnout in some places in the
Southwest may approach 20 percent, although in others our
observers reported less than 10 percent. Pockets of the
North Central zone had turnout approaching fifty percent, but
overall the turnout was probably 30 percent or less. Turnout
in parts of the Northwest approached 30 percent, but in
Katsina, Kano and Kaduna the turnout was likely closer to 20
percent. In the Northeast, turnout was in the same 20 to 30
percent range. Voting did not get underway in rural areas
until at least 1700 (if at all) in every part of the country.
Even so, many polling stations closed at 1400, claiming that
since the ballots finished there was no need to remain open.


SECURITY
--------

3. (U) There continue to be no serious security incidents
reported anywhere in the country, but we continue to receive
reports of some sporadic and isolated incidents. A curfew
has been announced in Bauchi state, raising questions about
how voting could continue. Since the balloting did not start
until at least 1600 in many parts of the city, this could
raise some tensions.

INEC STORIES
------------

4. (U) Mission observers report that errors on the ballot
papers have forced the postponement of some National Assembly
elections in Ogun, Niger, Abia, Lagos, Oyo, Kaduna, Rivers,
Jigawa, Gombe, and Delta. (Updated list of states from sitrep
2.) In most cases, the reason was omission of candidates
from the ballot. INEC Chairman Maurice Iwu has been on
television congratulating himself and INEC on a good
performance today even though the head of the EU Observer
team told the press earlier that his assessment was
"outspokenly negative."

POLITICAL INFLUENCE
-------------------

5. (U) Mission observers continue to report isolated
instances of what appears to be one or another of the parties
influencing the balloting in that polling unit. Reports of
ballot box theft increased late in the day, but most local
observers did not seem too concerned about it.

COMMENT
-------

6. (U) This is the last Embassy update for the day.

7. (U) This message incorporates information from both
Embassy and Consulate Lagos.
CAMPBELL

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