73 Candidates in Race as Nigerians Go to Presidential Polls Saturday

A wall at a bus station in Lagos covered with campaign posters of Muhammadu Buhari and his challenger, Atiku Abubakar. (Photo: AFP)

Nigerians will tomorrow, Saturday vote in a historic Presidential and Parliamentary election that will see them chose the next President out of the 73 candidates in the race.

The elections were ealier scheduled for Saturday February 16, but in an announcement, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairperson, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, said after reviewing the preparations, the electoral body realized a one week extension would deliver a standard election.

According to the country’s electoral body, there are 84 million registered voters out of whom, half are between 18 and 35 years.

Tight competition is between incumbent President, Muhammadu Buhari, 76, of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and his main challenger, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, 72, from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

President Buhari says he has built a strong foundation for prosperity of the people of Nigeria, but his rival Atiku, says the system is not functioning.

Last week, Buhari said that anyone who will try to interfere with the voting process or intimidate voters “will do it at the expense of his own life.”

He added: “I have given the military and the police instructions to be ruthless. We are not going to be blamed for the bad conduct of the election.”

During the campaigns, Atiku promised privatizing the leviathan state-run oil firm, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, floating the naira national currency and abolishing multiple exchange rates.

His counterpart and incumbent President, Buhari has centered his campaigns on the need to continue fighting against corruption, eliminating military group Boko haram in the Northeast as well as improving on the economy.

The country’s constitution provides for a person to become President, to get majority of the votes and over 25% of the vote in at least 24 of the 36 states. If no candidate passes this threshold, a second round is held in a period not later than 7 days.

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