Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Nigeria: Election factsheet for 2015 elections

Nigeria gained independence from the British on 1st October 1960. In 1963, the country transitioned itself into a Federal Republic with Nnamdi Azikiwe as the first president. Nigeria has enjoyed an uninterrupted civilian democracy since May, 1999, the longest period of civilian rule in the country’s history after the end of a 16-year consecutive military rule. The oil rich country runs a British-model parliamentary system from 1960 to 1966. Nigeria adopted a U.S.-model bicameral U.S. congressional system in 1999.

The National Assembly is made up of two chambers: the House of Representatives with 360 members, elected for a four-year term in single-seat constituencies. The Senate comprises of 109 members, elected for a four-year term: each of the 36 states is divided into 3 senatorial districts, each of which is represented by one senator; but the Federal Capital Territory is represented by only one senator.

Below are some facts and figures about the May 2014 elections:

• Nigeria will go to the polls on Saturday, March 28, 2015, to participate in Presidential and National Assembly elections.

• The elections were postponed by 6 weeks from the initial February 14 to the current date due to security concerns.

• The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is the ruling political party.

• The PDP has ruled for 16 years since the country returned to democratic rule in 1999.

• The main political parties include: PDP, All Progressives Congress (APC), Labor, and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).

• A candidate needs to garner at least a quarter (25%) of valid votes in two-thirds of the oil-rich country’s 36 states and the capital.

• Goodluck Jonathan is Nigeria’s current President, 57, sworn into office in May 2010.

• Goodluck Jonathan won the 2011 elections with 57% of the vote translating into 22.5 million votes.

• There are 150,000 polling across the nations, up from the 119,973 in 2011.

• The 2011 elections were the most violent in Nigeria’s history with 800 fatalities in three days and over 65,000 people displaced.

• INEC trained an estimated 1.2 million ad-hoc staff to help conduct the General Elections peacefully.

• PDP currently controls 23 out of the 36 states and has been in power since the country’s return to democracy in 1999.

• The 2015 election is seen as a two horse race between sitting president, Goodluck E. Jonathan, 57, and Muhammadu Buhari, 72, of the APC.

• In 2013, the 4 biggest opposition parties (the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA)) overcome their ethnic, religious and regional differences to form the All Progressive Congress (APC).

• According to the INEC, the official number of registered voters for 2015 elections are 68,833,476.

• 739 and 1,780 candidates will contest for the Senatorial elections and House of Representatives respectively.

• 14 Presidential candidates will contest the polls

• INEC will use card readers for the first time in the history of Nigerians elections

• INEC conducted registration in all the 119,973 registration Centres across the country

• According to security agencies about 360,000 security operatives (300, 000 police officers, 60, 000 of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps) and 25 sniffer dogs would be deployed across the country during the general elections.

• The police will use about 2,000 patrol vehicles during elections.

• Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and the 7th most populous country in the world

• Nigeria has had 3 democratically elected presidents since the end of military rule in 1999.

• The sitting president, Goodluck Jonathan became acting president in May 2010 after the untimely death of President Umaru Yar'Adua. Jonathan then won the presidential elections held in 2011 on the ticket of PDP.

• The Senate and House of Representatives elections will be held on April 11, 2015.

• Out of the 3 presidents Nigeria has had, 2 of them are christains , namely: Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan while the late Umaru Yar'Adua was a Muslim.

• Under the auspices of the former UN Sectrary-General, Kofi Annan and former Commonwealth Secretary-General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, all 14 participating parties signed “the Abuja Accord”on January 14, 2015 which commits them to non-violence and the acceptance election results.

• INEC has given Eighty eight (88) Observer groups the approval to participate in both the ‘Presidential and National Assembly’ and ‘Governorship and House of Assembly’.

• The election is threatened by the insurgency of the militant group, Boko Haram in especially the North-East of Nigeria. The group has been estimated to have killed 10,000 people since 2009.

• Nigeria has the biggest economy (GDP) in Africa worth over $500 billion and the 21th in the world.

• Nigeria is Africa's leading oil producer.

• The candidate who wins would have to deal with the country’s incessant energy crisis, inadequate security, corruption, the current free fall in oil prices oil business, and the long-standing infrastructure issues.

• The Mach 28 polls will be the strongest test to the dominance of PDP due to the alliance by key opposition parties.

• Out of the 32,718,943 women eligible to run for office, only one (1), Remi Sonaiya, is contesting for the Presidency of a country in which women make up nearly half of the population. She holds a PhD in linguistics.

• The 2003 elections had the highest number of female presidential contestants - 2.

• The average age of contenders is 52 years while the oldest candidate is 72 years.

• Only one of Nigeria’s 6 geopolitical zones, the troubled North-East, has not produced a presidential candidate for the February 14 polls.

• Out of the 14 presidential candidates, 12 have a degree or above whilst 2 have O’ Level certificates. There are 5 PhD and 1 professor holders running for president

• 10 out of 14 vice-presidential candidates are men representing 71% while 4 are females representing 29%

• 56.4m eligible voters representing 81.98% have collected their PVCs for this week’s elections.


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