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Cablegate: Nigeria: April 28 Make-Up Elections

VZCZCXRO2991
PP RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHUJA #0847/01 1221002
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 021002Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9373
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHWR/AMEMBASSY WARSAW 0300
RUEHCD/AMCONSUL CIUDAD JUAREZ 0296
RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS 6755
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 000847

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. NOT FOR INTERNET POSTING.
DOE FOR CAROLYN GAY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: APRIL 28 MAKE-UP ELECTIONS

REF: ABUJA 807

ABUJA 00000847 001.2 OF 002


-------
SUMMARY
-------
1. (U) Summary: The ruling People's Democratic Party
(PDP) continued its near-sweep of state and national races
after this weekend's rescheduled elections, which were held
in select parts of 27 states. Previous state or national
elections in these locations were either not held on the 14th
or 21st or were annulled due to lack of materials and/or
irregularities. Media reports indicate that the PDP was
declared the winner of most races April 28. The ruling party
consolidated its power base everywhere except in Imo and
Lagos states, where they lost governorships and National
Assembly seats to the Peoples' Progressive Alliance (PPA) and
the Action Congress (AC) respectively. The conduct of the
April 28 make-up polls showed little improvement on the
elections of April 14 and 21. Ballot boxes and papers were
stolen in some places, while polling stations never opened in
others. Where voting did occur, the turnout was extremely
low due to a combination of confusion and lack of information
about the rescheduled elections and voter apathy based of
experiences of the previous two weekends. The make-up
elections were relatively free of violence as most people
ignored the process and went about their normal business. End
Summary.

---------------------------
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE ELECTIONS
---------------------------
2. (U) The major headline from the rescheduled elections
was the victory of the PPA, Governor Orji Kalu's party, in
the Imo state governorship race. The PPA candidate, Chief
Ikedi Ohakim, defeated the PDP candidate and incumbent
senator Ifeanyi Araraume and APGA candidate Chief Agbaso. In
Enugu State, the PDP's Sullivan Chime was declared the
governor-elect after polling was re-run in only four local
government areas (LGAs), despite widespread views that
polling never happened in most of the state on April 14. All
political parties except PDP and the Accord Party boycotted
the April 28 Enugu gubernatorial polls after INEC proceeded
with the four LGA only make-up election in defiance of an
Enugu Federal High Court order. Kaduna's governor Ahmed
Makarfi, wife of Niger state governor Hajia Zainab Kure, and
President Obasanjo's daughter Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello won
senatorial seats in their respective states. The wife of the
PDP National Chairman, Mrs. Maryam Ali, whose candidacy had
earlier created bad blood between the chairman and President
Obasanjo, was not as lucky as she lost to incumbent Senator
Patrick Osakwe. Controversial Senator Uche Chukwumerije, who
decamped to the PPA from the PDP to escape sanctions for his
role in the defeat of the third term project, was returned to
the Senate on the platform of his new party.

--------
COMMENT
--------
3. (U) The make-up elections were characterized by low
turnout and general voter apathy throughout the country.
Nigerians interviewed by journalists on the day of the
elections expressed disgust at the conduct and outcome of the
April 14 and 21 elections and wondered why anyone would waste
his/her time to show up on. April 28. The conduct of the
rescheduled elections was similar to the original polls,
where malpractices and irregularities prevailed.

4. (SBU) As the May 29 handover date draws nearer, there
are mixed reactions regarding the way forward. While some
people have called for outright cancellation of the elections
and the formation of an interim government to conduct fresh
elections in about three months, others have urged aggrieved
politicians to seek redress at the election tribunals. There
are yet others who, despite acknowledging the elections were
seriously flawed, have urged Nigerians to accept the outcome
to ensure that President Obasanjo vacates office. Civil
society and some opposition parties have vowed to resist the
outcome of the elections and claim to be mobilizing the
citizenry for mass action. However, neither civil society

ABUJA 00000847 002.2 OF 002


nor the opposition parties are very organized or united.
Some minor opposition parties have already pledged support
for Yar'Adua, while bureaucrats are already jostling for
positions in the Yar'Adua government. It would be difficult
for Nigeria's impoverished citizenry to embark on any
sustained mass action and most of the politicians calling for
protests are viewed to have at one time or the other been
products of previous flawed elections. There is, however, a
consensus amongst most Nigerians that the 2007 elections may
have been the worst ever in the history of the country.
CAMPBELL

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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