Nigerians Prepare For Saturday Elections Amid Boko Haram Fears

Nigerians are preparing to go to the ballot on Saturday to elect a president amid security threats from the Boko Haram militant group.

The frontrunners President Goodluck Jonathan and former military president Muhammadu Buhari have promised to tackle the militants as well as corruption.  

At a Newsstand in Tinubu Square in Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos, readers mill around the day’s papers debating on the day’s headlines. All other issues have taken a backburner.

For them, the debate centres around the country’s elections. With each passing minute the tone gets higher – each reader, each voter seeking to have his opinion heard.  

The debate is temporarily drowned by sounds of campaign music in support of the incumbent President Jonathan and ruling People’s Democratic party (PDP)’s candidate.  

It is a tight contest between Jonathan and his main rival Buhari of All Progressives Congress (APC) as evidenced by the readers.
“What we are yearning for is change,” says one of the residents. Others are rallying behind Jonathan.   

“Jonathan is not a superman, he is not a God, he is a human being, he is doing his best but people do not understand this,” says Lagos resident, Charles Orebiyi.

Jonathan’s supporters say he has improved infrastructure in the country and has managed to diversify the economy.

His opponents accuse him of failing to deal with Boko Haram militants accused of killings at least 13 000 people since its insurgency began six years ago and abducted hundreds including nearly 300 school girls in April 2014.

He has also been accused of being weak on tackling corruption.

“When we have somebody who can fight corruption our problem is 50% solved,” says another resident Omole Musa.

Sixty-eight million people are registered to vote. There are 14 candidates contesting in this year’s presidential elections, however the real battle will be between the incumbent President Jonathan and the APC’s Buhari.

Jonathan is campaigning on a platform of continuity, while Buhari says the time for change in Nigeria is now.