Feb 23, 2019

Skepticism and suspicion ahead of Nigeria's delayed presidential vote

A billboard for the ruling party's candidates in Abuja. Photo: Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP/Getty Images

Abuja, Nigeria — As voters in Nigeria prepare to cast their ballot on Saturday in the rescheduled presidential and legislative elections, concerns about the credibility, or lack of it, of the polls still persist.

Why it matters: "In a close-run election, marred by discrepancies and irregularities, the winner ultimately may be decided by the courts rather than the voters," Matthew Page, associate fellow at Chatham House, told Al Jazeera."Given the Nigerian judiciary's lack of independence and well-earned reputation for corruption, it is possible that the Nigerian presidency could essentially be sold to the highest bidder."

Concerns raised ahead of the poll include the fact that millions of Nigerians that registered to vote in the elections had not collected their voter cards. Meanwhile, images of policemen and soldiers using President Muhammadu Buhari's campaign sign, which indicates an endorsement, have gone viral.

Where things stand:

  • The presidential and legislative votes were to take place on February 16 before they were delayed five hours before the opening of polling stations.
  • Some election materials have been held up from reaching voting stations. However, the electoral commission pledged on Thursday there will not be further postponement.
  • The two general elections in 2011 and 2015 were also delayed.

What to watch: "I envisage that the results will be seriously contested and disputed. This is because the gladiators from the two biggest parties have sworn not to give in or concede victory in case they lose. This is not healthy for the polity," said Victor Okhai, presidential candidate of the Providence Peoples Congress.

Go deeper: Read the full Al Jazeera report.

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U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll passes 9,600

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Recorded deaths from the novel coronavirus surpassed 9,600 in the U.S. Sunday night, per Johns Hopkins data. The death toll in the U.S. has risen over 1,000 every day since April 1.

Why it matters: U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on Sunday this upcoming week will be "the hardest and saddest week of most Americans' lives" — calling it our "our Pearl Harbor, our 9/11 moment."

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 p.m. ET: 1,273,990 — Total deaths: 69,444 — Total recoveries: 260,247Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 p.m. ET: 337,310 — Total deaths: 9,634 — Total recoveries: 17,461Map.
  3. Federal government latest: Surgeon general says this week will be "our Pearl Harbor, our 9/11 moment." The USDA confirms that a Bronx zoo tiger tested positive for coronavirus.
  4. 2020 latest: "We have no contingency plan," Trump said on the 2020 Republican National Convention. Biden says DNC may have to hold virtual convention.
  5. States updates: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state is "literally going day-to-day" with supplies.
  6. World update: Queen Elizabeth II urges the British people to confront pandemic with "self-discipline" and "resolve" in rare televised address.
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Intelligence community watchdog suggests Trump fired him for doing his job

Michael Atkinson, Inspector General of the Intelligence Community,at the Capitol in October. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson suggested in a statement Sunday President Trump fired him for acting impartially in carrying out his duties following a whistleblower complaint.

Why it matters: Atkinson alerted Congress last September to the complaint on Trump's correspondence with Ukraine's president, triggering an inquiry that resulted in the Trump's impeachment.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy