Thursday, June 7, 2007

Kudos to Nigeria ... Sort of

On Tuesday, for the first time since getting their independance from Britain in 1960, an elected civilian president transferred power to another elected civilian president.

Nigeria is Africa's most populous and richest nations and this should set a standard that their neighbors should try to emulate.

Now, the election of President Umara Yar'Adua was not quite what we would see in Western countries. Ballot boxes and voter cards were stolen (while police watched and did nothing), and international observers documented it all.

But still, in a nation with a history of military rule, punctuated by coups and counter-coups, the peaceful transfer of power is noteworthy. My best wishes to Nigeria and her new President. Perhaps with practice, voting will get better.

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Sarah said...

That is fantastic news! It makes you wonder how people can take voting for granted?

Paul Champagne said...

sarah ... not only do they take it for granted, most of the electorate avoids it whenever possible.

In our last local election, only 8% of eligible voters showed up. This is with a one week early voting period as well as election day. Out of that 8%, 80% of those voters were age 40 and above. We need to instill in our kids the "Need to Vote". If young people ever wonder why it seems like politicians don't care about them ... it's because the politicians care about voters

lime said...

well, let's see if it lasts. i am more inclined to keep my eye on liberia and see what ellen johnson sirleaf is able to do...someone who was a political outsider but who seems to be able to garner to popular support and make sweeping changes and inroads agasint corruption. if nigeria's new leader follows suit that will be impressive.

snowelf said...

Paul, I totally agree--they care about voters. I think we would live in a completely different type of America if everyone voted. I have a whole rant about this, but I'll spare everyone.

I think you're right though, the more elections they have, the more the voting will smooth over eventually. I wish them well!


Anonymous said...

I want everyone to vote, but at the same time I want everyone to know WHY they are voting. And oh by the way, I like the way the state of Oregon takes care of voting [all ballots via snail MAIL].

Sarah said...


I agree there is nothing worse than slogans like vote or die or the older rock the vote. I wish they would say something like vote informed or stay home. Im guessing that is too many words for an MTV Tshirt but I am sure P Diddy could jazz it up!

Mike M said...

Nigeria in in a state of flux that every country goes though in the beginning when they adopt democracy.
In time they will get the hang of it.

MyUtopia said...

Interesting post! Thanks for sharing.

Akelamalu said...

Voting isn't perfect even here! Hopefully it will get better there.

Jenny! said...

That's a step in the right direction. I can't believe that people don't vote and it's embarrasing to be lumped into that age group of non-voters. I was super excited when I turned 18, got my voters card like that week. I come from a political family where not voting is a crime, so as long as you vote and can defend your stay in the will!

Superstar said...

Paul: This blog is great. I can't wait to keep up on my world events! I have a minor in Political Science, so I get what you are saying.

It shocks me that even in our own "free" country women didn't have the ability to vote until 1924. so, the fact that a country as "young' as Nigeria is just recovering, isn't completely shocking. I guess most people forget that...Native American, African American, repressions in our own country...Yet we have all this self rightous indignation to go trotting off to other countries and "fight".
~folds arms and taps foot~
Makes ya wonder.

Paul Champagne said...

lime ... liberia has been a success story, but it was founded by freed American slaves and based on our Democratic ideals ... they sort of had a good head-start

snowelf ... I also wish them well and hope that practice makes perfect.

tlrb ... you don't believe in giving people a test on the issues before they can vote do you? Though I actually would like to know that the people voting have a grasp of the issues ... we do live in a democracy

sarah ... You mean you don't "Rock the Vote"?

mike ... they will either get the hang of it, or stage another military coup ... I hope for the former.

myutopia ... I like sharing.

akemlamalu ... it will never be perfect anywhere, "dead" people vote in certain districts in the United States ... we can only hope it gets better each year.

jenny ... unfortunately, we are in an era where most people are more worried about Paris Hilton than the direction of our government. It's nice to know that there are young people out here that want to make their voices heard.

superstar ... welcome, it will be great to actually have some one with a political degree commenting on this blog ... but I feel intimidated, I only graduated from the "School Of Hard Knocks".