Election Violence Claims at Least 21 Lives

By April 20, 2007

Nigeria (MNN) — After violence surrounded the legislative and gubernatorial elections, Christians must make another decision April 21. Who will be the next Nigerian president? 

Open Doors USA
reports that the Christian Association of Nigeria organized a questionnaire for all presidential candidates that would help Christians with their decision. However, the findings have not been released. 

No Christians are running for the presidency, but many Christians seem to lean toward Umaru Musa Yar'adua despite his mid-March illness that created a stir. Besides that, he has the least controversy buzzing about him and seemingly has the most sympathy to the Christian cause.  Yar'adua is among two other candidates who are seen as the most-likely to win.

Current president Olusegun Obasanjo's term is up. He has openly claimed to be a Christian, which has made leading difficult under Nigeria's Muslim law. He has rid the
country of its 36 billion dollar foreign debt, reorganized the banking sector, and brought Nigeria to a generally healthy macro-economic state. This has not helped his reputation among the Nigerian people, however. Two years ago he attempted to change the laws to extend term limits but was met with opposition from the political elite as well as the general public. 

In February, one of Obasanjo's greatest rivals, Vice-president Atiku Abubakar, was banned from the elections. He was declared unfit for the presidency by the Independent National Election Commission. Parties who oppose this ruling are encouraging Nigerians to "protest in a non-violent manner these sham elections so far held and to resist further elections under the current structure."

At least 21 people were killed in election-related violence last week. Complaints about irregularities and violence contrast the federal government's report that the election has been generally fair so far.

After this violence, "Eighteen of the main opposition parties have called for the presidential elections to be postponed," according to a report from Open Doors.

Pray that the elections will continue more peacefully and justly. Pray that Christians will be steadfast in their faith and be a light to those caught up in evil plans.

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