News ID: 114457
Published: 0702 GMT March 28, 2015

Nigerians to vote in general elections amid Boko Haram threats

Nigerians to vote in general elections amid Boko Haram threats

Nigerians are preparing to go to the ballots shortly to elect the West African nation’s president and parliament amid security threats from the Boko Haram Takfiri militant group.

Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced its preparedness for Saturday’s presidential and parliamentary polls, and has already distributed ballot boxes as well as other related material at polling stations across the country. 

Nigerian authorities have beefed up security as part of efforts to impose strict measures during and after the voting time, and have ordered land and sea borders sealed off. 

Both local and foreign observers will be monitoring Nigeria's polls. Past elections have been marred by violence and allegations of vote-rigging.  

Since campaigning began in mid-November last year, both the ruling and opposition camps have reported violent attacks, which have killed a number of their supporters. 

Meantime, Ibrahim Zikirullah, a member of the Transition Monitoring Group, has told Press TV that the governing People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which has dominated Nigeria’s politics since 1999, would do everything possible not to let the leadership slip from its fingers, as it faces tough election challenge from the opposition. 

The front-runners for Nigeria’s presidential election are incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan and former military chief Muhammadu Buhari. Jonathan is seeking a second four-year term, while Buhari, who has lost the last three elections, has a realistic chance of winning. 

This is while 739 candidates are also vying for a place in Nigeria's 109-seat Senate and 1,780 seeking election to the 360-seat National Assembly during Saturday’s parliamentary elections.

All this comes at a time when Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is forbidden,” and controls parts of northeastern Nigeria, has vowed to disrupt the polls by violent attacks. 

The Takfiris have claimed responsibility for a number of deadly shooting attacks and bombings in various parts of Nigeria since the beginning of their activities in 2009, which have so far left over 13,000 people dead and 1.5 million displaced.

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