Saturday, March 28, 2015

Nigeria: Polls open in tight elections

Voting is ongoing in Nigeria’s Presidential and National Assembly elections expected to be the most competitive since Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999. The presidential poll is seen as a straight fight between incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) General Muhammadu Buhari.

Polls opened at 07:00 GMT this morning for accreditation (voter verification) with 68,833,476 voters eligible to cast their ballots for 14 presidential and 739 senatorial. Voting will starts 12:30 GMT and voters must vote in the same Polling Unit they completed their voter registration.

Opinion polls are divided as to who will win the elections but most of the results favor Ex-Military Leader Buhari. Analysis has shown that while votes in the South East and South-South votes are for Jonathan, the north and South-West would mainly go to Buhari.

Analysts predicts Buhari is to win 15 states in the north, 3 states in the South-West and 1 state in the south-south, while Jonathan is expected to win 1 state in the North and 7 states in the East and South -South. The other deciding states and the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja are too close to call and could go either way.

President Jonathan is expected to win Bayelsa and Cross River in the South-South, Taraba state in the north, clinch Anambra, Abia Enugu, Ebonyi, in the East, Delta.

According to analysts, Buhari, the main contender is expected to win in Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Bauchi, Jigawa, Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Nassarawa, Kogi, Kwara, Niger, Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara all in the North. In the South-West, Buhari is likely to win in Lagos, Oyo, Osun, Ogun, and Edo in the South South.

Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is for the first time in Nigeria using card readers which is meant to curb vote rigging. Meanwhile, INEC has accredited about 88 foreign and local observer missions to monitor the elections including the African Union, European Union, ECOWAS, United Nations Women, All Nigerian Nationals in Diaspora and the International Republican Institute.

A presidential candidate requires 25% of valid votes from two-thirds of the oil-rich country’s 36 states and the capital to win the race.


Stay with the African elections twitter handle twitter @africanelection and facebook page for regular updates with the hashtags #NigeriaDecides #Nigeria2015 for updates on twitter

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