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Vote row flares in Nigerian president's home state

14 November 2011, 17:22

Abuja- The powerful governor of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan's home state Bayelsa has been disqualified from taking part in a gubernatorial primary, his party said, raising the risk of a dangerous political row in the oil-producing region.

Officials from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) listed sitting governor Timipre Sylva as one of four people who failed to get through a screening process to stand in next week's primary.

They did not give any explanation for their decision.

State governors are among the most powerful politicians in Nigeria, wielding influence over national policy and in some cases controlling budgets larger than small African nations.

Sylva's office issued a statement urging his supporters to be calm but said he was disappointed by the ruling.

"Sylva considers it disturbing that his full membership of the PDP is being abridged. In particular, his fundamental right to vote and be voted for has been trampled upon by his own party, a party he has contributed so much in building," the statement read.

"Consequently, Governor Sylva and his supporters are reviewing the decision of the (PDP's) National Working Committee."

Nigeria held nationwide presidential, local and gubernatorial elections in April that international observers said were the fairest since the end of military rule in 1999.

They were also some of the bloodiest as post-election violence left hundreds dead. 


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