Today is the D-day as millions of Nigerians queue to vote for its president for the next four years.
Nigerians are trooping out en-masse to elect the next Nigerian president, Senators and members of the House of Representatives for the next four years.
As early as 7am, eligible voters are expected to be at their polling units for accreditation through the card reader to clear voters for the voting proper.
Fourteen political parties and presidential candidates of these parties are gunning for Nigeria’s coveted number one seat and leading the pack are incumbent President Jonathan of the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP and General Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Ab initio, the presidential and national assembly elections were meant to hold on February 14, 2015 but just a week before they were originally due, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced a six-week postponement.
The security question triggered of by the activities of Boko Haram Islamists in the north-east put security at the centre of the election campaigns and both parties clashed over how to handle the insurgency in Nigeria. INEC was also appeared not ready as many Nigerians were yet to collect their permanent voters cards.
In the past, elections have been marred by violence and allegations of vote-rigging and since parties began campaigning in mid-November, both the ruling and opposition camps have reported violent attacks against their supporters. Severally, there were reported clashes between rival supporters of both parties leaving blood and tears in the trail.
In today’s election, security forces are also coming out en-masse to closely observe the voting process to avoid violence and blood-letting.
Indeed, anxiety is high today. The country has a fragmented political class.
The economic situation is uncertain, oil prices are falling and the naira has been devalued. Stomach infrastructure is a new vocabulary in the political dictionary.
With these prevailing circumstances, many are expressing nostalgia for the 2015 elections.
However, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has promised a clean ballot. All 14 candidates have signed an agreement binding them to credible and non-violent elections. Official campaigning ended two days before polling day.
The ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP’s candidates are President Goodluck Jonathan and his vice, Namadi Sambo, while the main opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, has Muhammadu Buhari and Yemi Osinbajo as presidential and vice presidential candidates.
Others are Oluremi Sonaiya and Saidu Bobboi for Kowa Party; Ambrose Albert and Haruna Shaba for Hope Democratic Party; Ganiyu Galadima and Balarabe Ahmed of Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, ACPN; Rafiu Salau and Clinton Cliff Akuchie for Alliance for Democracy, AD and Godson Okoye and Haruna Adamu, for United Democratic Party, UDP.
Others are Nani Ibrahim Ahmad and Obianuju Murphy-Uzohue of African Democratic Congress, Martin Onovo and Ibrahim Mohammed of National Conscience Party, NCP, Tunde Anifowoshe-Kelani and Paul Ishaka Ofomile of Action Alliance and Chekwas Okorie and Bello Umar of United Progressive Party.
The Labour Party, LP, and the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, have already adopted the PDP candidate, Goodluck Jonathan as their candidate as well.