Nigerian presidential election, 2011

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Nigerian presidential election, 2011
2007 ←
16 April 2011 → 2015

  Goodluck Jonathan.jpg Nuhu-nasir-femi cropped.jpg
Nominee Goodluck Jonathan Muhammadu Buhari Nuhu Ribadu
Running mate Namadi Sambo Tunde Bakare Fola Adeola
Popular vote 22,495,187 12,214,853 2,079,151
Percentage 58.89% 31.98% 5.41%

President before election

Goodluck Jonathan (Acting)

Elected President

Goodluck Jonathan

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A presidential election was held in Nigeria on 16 April 2011, postponed from 9 April, 2011.[1][2][3] The election follows controversy as to whether a northerner or southerner should be allowed to become president given the tradition of rotating the top office between the north and southern regions and following the death of Umaru Yar'Adua, who was a northerner, and Goodluck Jonathan, a southerner, assuming the interim presidency.

Following the election widespread violence took place in the northern parts of the country.[4] Jonathan was declared the winner on 19 April.[5]


A gentlemen's agreement, within the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), meant that power rotates between the predominantly Muslim north and Christian south every two terms, which means the flag bearer of the party for this election was scheduled to be represented by a Northerner.[6] After the death of President Umar Yar'Adua, a Northern Muslim, his Vice President Goodluck Jonathan, a Southern Christian, took over as acting president. The suggestion that Jonathan was considering running for the presidency in his own right was controversial as Yar'Adua had only served one of the two possible terms as president after Southerner Olusegun Obasanjo.[7]


Due to the zoning system, a Northern Muslim candidate, Ibrahim Babangida, a former general and military ruler, and Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president, as expected, ran for the presidency.

After initial doubts,[6] the interim president Goodluck Jonathan declared his intention to run for the presidency on 18 September 2010.[8] Muhammadu Buhari is seen by some as a principal opposition to Jonathan besides Nuhu Ribadu.[9]

There are sixty-three registered political parties in Nigeria, of which twenty-one[who?] fielded candidates:[10][11]

Political parties Presidential candidates Running mates
ACN Nuhu Ribadu[12] Fola Adeola[11]
ADC Peter Nwangwu[11] Mani Ibrahim Ahmad[11]
ANPP Ibrahim Shekarau[13] John Odigie Oyegun[11]
AFP Yahaya Ndu[11]
BNPP Iheanyichukwu Nnaji[11] Kadijat Abubakar[11]
CPC Muhammadu Buhari[14] Tunde Bakare[11]
FDP Chris Okotie[11]
HDP Ambrose Awuru[11] Ibrahim Abdullahi[11]
LDP Chris Nwaokobia[11]
NCP Dele Momodu[11] Yunusa Tanko[11]
NMDP Akpona Solomon[11] -
NTP John Dara[11] -
MPPP Rasheed Shitta-Bey[11] -
PDC Mahmud Waziri[11] Clement Eze[11]
PDP Goodluck Jonathan[15] Namadi Sambo[11]
PMP Nwadike Chikezie[11] -
SDMP Patrick Utomi[11] Lawal Funtua[11]
UNPD Ebiti Ndok[11] Galadima Samari[11]
Ibrahim Babangida[16]


Following a bombing in Abuja during Nigeria's 50th anniversary celebrations and the consequent arrest and interrogation of the Director General of Babangida campaign, Raymond Dokpesi, there were calls for him to quit the race. In addition, there were others who linked his affiliated to the blasts. He responded in saying it would be "idiotic to link" him with attack. Even before the blasts, however, some of his former loyalists, popularly called "IBB Boys," apparently asked him to quit the presidential race so as not to avoid being rubbished by a non-General.[17]



In September 2010, the election commission requested a postponement of the polls citing the need for more time to overhaul the national electoral register. Critics were upset over the proposal.[18] The election was postponed from January to April due to the release of a new electronic voter registration software.[2]

Pre-election violence[edit]

In December 2010, bombs went off in Yenegoa, Bayelsa State during a gubernatorial campaign rally. There were also bombings and shootings in the north blamed on Boko Haram. Politicians and police said that the campaign of violence aimed to disrupt the election.[19]


Final result, showing the states won by Jonathan (in green), Buhari (red), and Ribadu (blue).[20]

The elections was reported in the international media as having run smoothly with relatively little violence or voter fraud in contrast to previous elections, in particular the widely disputed 2007 election. Indeed, at least one observer pronounced them the most smoothly run elections held since the restoration of democracy 12 years earlier.[15]

e • d Summary of the 16 April 2011 Nigerian presidential election results
Candidates Parties Votes %
Goodluck Jonathan People's Democratic Party (PDP) 22,495,187 58.89
Muhammadu Buhari Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) 12,214,853 31.98
Nuhu Ribadu Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) 2,079,151 5.41
Ibrahim Shekarau All Nigeria People's Party (ANPP) 917,012 2.40
Mahmud Waziri People for Democratic Change (PDC) 82,243 0.21
Nwadike Chikezie Peoples Mandate Party (PMP) 56,248 0.15
Lawson Igboanugo Aroh Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) 54,203 0.14
Peter Nwangwu African Democratic Congress (ADC) 51,682 0.14
Iheanyichukwu Nnaji Better Nigeria Progressive Party (BNPP) 47,272 0.12
Chris Okotie Fresh Democratic Party (FRESH) 34,331 0.09
Dele Momodu National Conscience Party (NCP) 26,376 0.07
Akpona Solomon National Majority Democratic Party (NMDP) 25,938 0.07
Lawrence Makinde Adedoyin African Political System (APS) 23,740 0.06
Ebiti Ndok United National Party for Development (UNPD) 21,203 0.06
John Dara National Transformation Party (NTP) 19,744 0.05
Rasheed Shitta-Bey Mega Progressive Peoples Party (MPPP) 16,492 0.04
Yahaya Ndu African Renaissance Party (ARP) 12,264 0.03
Ambrose Awuru Hope Democratic Party (HDP) 12,023 0.03
Patrick Utomi Social Democratic Mega Party (SDMP) 11,544 0.03
Chris Nwaokobia Liberal Democratic Party of Nigeria (LDPN) 8,472 0.02
Invalid votes 1,259,506 3.19
Valid votes (turnout 53.7%) 39,469,484 96.81
Source: INEC


The United States State Department said the election was "successful" and a "substantial improvement" over 2007, although it added that vote rigging and fraud also took place.[21]


"Irregularities", such as underage voting and snatching of ballot boxes were reported to have taken place.[22] Buhari claimed that his supporters in the south were not allowed to vote.[23]

Post-election violence[edit]

The election sparked riots in Northern Nigeria and in the following months up to 1,000 people are said to have died in post-election violence.[24][dubious ]

Further reading[edit]

  • John A. Ayoade, and Adeoye A. Akinsanya, eds. Nigeria's Critical Election, 2011 (Lexington Books; 2012)


  1. ^ "Nigeria to hold presidential election on 9 April". BBC News. 23 November 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Nigeria’s General Elections Postponed From January To April As A New Voter Registration Software Is Released By The Inec - All West Africa News
  3. ^ "Nigeria Elections postponed for second time". Aljazeera News. 3 April 2011. 
  4. ^ "Jonathan rival rejects vote result as thousands flee Nigeria unrest". Daily Nation (Kenya). 20 April 2011. Retrieved 21 April 2011. 
  5. ^ Purefoy, Christian (19 April 2011). "Widespread election violence erupts in Nigeria". CNN. Retrieved 20 April 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Nigeria sets presidential poll date - Africa - Al Jazeera English
  7. ^ Maja-Pearce, Adewale (16 August 2010). "Nigeria's 2011 presidential race tests North-South powersharing agreement". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  8. ^ Jonathan declares Nigeria poll bid - Africa - Al Jazeera English
  9. ^
  10. ^ Nigeria News | Politics | BATTLE OVER 'MEGA' TEARS TWO PARTIES APART
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z Ndujihe, Clifford. "Nigeria Presidential Candidate List for 2011 and Their Empty Promises". Naijan. Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  12. ^ "Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to seek one term". BBC News. 1 February 2011. 
  13. ^ "Nigeria 2011 Presidential Candidates". Indepth Africa. Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  14. ^ "Nigeria ex-military ruler picked for presidency bid". Reuters. 5 January 2011. 
  15. ^ a b Nossiter, Adam (16 April 2011). "Nigerians Vote in Presidential Election". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  16. ^ Adisa, Taiwo (9 October 2010). "Abuja Bomb Blasts: Odds Against IBB". The Tribune. Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  17. ^ Abuja Bomb Blasts: Odds Against IBB
  18. ^ Plea to postpone Nigeria poll - Africa - Al Jazeera English
  19. ^ "Bombs, shootings hit Nigeria before election year". Reuters. 29 December 2010. 
  20. ^ "Nigerians vote in presidential election". BBC News. 16 April 2011. 
  21. ^ "The Recent Elections in Nigeria". 
  22. ^ Smith, David (2011-04-17). "Goodluck Jonathan opens unassailable lead in Nigeria's presidential election". London: The Guardian. 
  23. ^ "Opposition claims irregularities in Nigeria's presidential election". 2011-04-20. 
  24. ^ Nossiter, Adam (24 April 2011). "Election Result Fuels Deadly Clashes in Nigeria". The New York Times.