Voting extended in tense Nigeria oil state: official

April 12, 2015 8:46 am
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Officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) count ballots after gubernatorial and local assembly elections in Lagos on April 11, 2015/AFP
Officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) count ballots after gubernatorial and local assembly elections in Lagos on April 11, 2015/AFP
PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria, Apr 12 – Voting has been extended into Sunday in a key regional election in Nigeria’s restive Rivers state after irregularities at some polling stations, officials said.

The extension affects nine wards in oil-rich southern Rivers, said the state’s top electoral officer Gesila Khan.

She said that in some instances key election materials were never brought to polling stations.

The results from Saturday’s election have been cancelled in other parts of the state after ballot papers were openly stolen, she added.

Khan did not specify how many areas were affected by cancellations and so it was not immediately possible to estimate the impact on the statewide result.

Rivers has emerged as the key battleground in Nigeria’s 2015 regional elections, after the state saw unrest during presidential polls last month.

Tension has been fuelled by personal rivalry between outgoing governor Rotimi Amaechi and President Goodluck Jonathan after the former’s defection to the opposition All Progressives Congress in 2013.

The APC alleged widespread rigging on the part of Jonathan’s People’s Democratic Party after polls opened in Rivers on Saturday.

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