Nigeria elected a Christian President, Jonathan Goodluck, on April 18 2011 and this provided enough of an excuse for Muslim rioters to start massacring hundreds of Christians and burning churches in North Nigeria.
This is what the State Department had to say about this when questioned about it in a news conference I found here:
QUESTION: Might you be soft-pedaling the violence a little bit? I’m reading some wire material today about perhaps 500 people killed and Christian churches set afire. And also people from the elections say that they’re very discouraged by this and that they prefer to not have an election if this sort of thing happens. Might you be looking through rose-colored glasses at this sort of thing?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CARSON: Absolutely not. But let me first say we deplore the violence that occurred particularly after the conclusion of the presidential elections a week and a half ago. We saw widespread violence throughout much of northern Nigeria. Both the president and the main opposition candidates – both called on their supporters to not support violent activities and to work to restore peace as quickly as possible.
I think that there has been a history of violence associated with Nigerian elections in the past. But in this election, we have clearly seen a much more responsible security force and a security presence in and around the electoral sites. So it’s important that violence not be a part of the democratic process. We deplore it, and I think senior officials in Nigeria have also deplored it as well. We hope that these elections will be a baseline for greater improvement in both their technical procedures as well as in their security as well.