Nigeria: Riots Break Out Over Goodluck Jonathan Presidential Win

Riots in the northern states spread in protest against the victory of the People's Democratic Party candidate.

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Goodluck Jonathan is president-elect in Nigeria. (Getty Images)

CNN is reporting that riots have broken out in the northern states of Nigeria following the election of presidential candidate Goodluck Jonathan. Jonathan, of the People's Democratic Party, was declared the winner of the presidential election by Attahiru Jega, chairman of Nigeria's Independent National Electoral Commission on Monday. Christian Purefoy reports, "Goodluck E. Jonathan of PDP, having satisfied the requirements of the law and scored the highest number of votes, is hereby declared the winner," said Jega.

Jega said the ruling People's Democratic Party won 22,495,187 of the 39,469,484 votes cast Saturday. That number far outstripped the votes for Muhammadu Buhari, of the Congress for Progressive Change, the main opposition party, which won 12,214,853.

To avoid a runoff, Jonathan needed at least a quarter of the vote in two-thirds of the 36 states and the capital. He won that amount in 31 states.

Only the PDP signed the results; representatives of the opposing parties refused to do so.

The Congress for Progressive Change insisted that the PDP intimidated would-be voters and drove them away from the polls.

However, the Nigerian observer group Project 2011 Swift Count said Sunday that, based on reports from a random sample of 1,468 polling units, it found "the country citizens were generally provided with a meaningful opportunity to exercise their right to vote and that the process improved over the National Assembly elections held last week. These elections were not without problems -- in particular, isolated incidents of intimidation, violence and illegal voting. But these incidents did not undermine the overall credibility of the process."

Riots then broke out on Monday, with the Nigerian Red Cross reporting that 101 people were injured in riots in Kaduna city and Zaria, in Kaduna State, and Kano.

In a statement, Jonathan noted "with great sadness" the news of unrest and called for calm. "We must not allow for the loss of any life, and as I have always said, no one's political ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian," he said.

Shehu Sani of the Civil Rights Congress said that violence also erupted in Suleja, Niger state, where gunshots were heard, business owners shuttered their shops and military were on the streets. He described the scene as "pandemonium." Citing his sources there, he said that there were reports of fatalities and injuries.

When will folks learn that violence will not solve anything? Jonathan has served as interim president since May, and it appears that the vast majority of Nigerians want it to stay that way. Why have an election process if you're going to contest the outcome to such an extent that it negatively impacts the country? Elections are just that -- there has to be a winner and a loser. Deal with it.

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