Tamil Diplomat

Nigerian voters prepare to election new president

Nigerians are about to go to the polls to elect a new leader, with President Goodluck Jonathan facing a strong challenge from Muhammadu Buhari. It is expected to be the most closely fought election since independence, set against a background of violence from militant Islamist group Boko Haram.

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has dominated Nigerian politics since 1999, but the All Progressive Congress (APC) is viewed as a serious challenge. The polls open at 07:00 GMT. The two main presidential candidates have signed an agreement to prevent violence. during the election and its aftermath.

Some 800 people were killed after the 2011 contest between the two rivals. The polls were due to be held on 14 February, but were postponed to give the electoral commission more time to prepare for the polls and for regional forces to regain territory from Boko Haram in the north-east. On Friday, the Nigerian army said it had retaken the town of Gwoza, believed to be the headquarters of Boko Haram. Voters in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja – the capital – will also elect members of the house of representatives and the senate.