Spectre of Boko Haram looms over Nigeria elections

(AGI) Lagos, Mar 27 - Seventy million Nigerians will go to thepolls on Saturday in the country's presidential andparliamentary elections, held in a climate of terror sown bythe Islamist militants of Boko Haram. More than 360,000soldiers and policemen will be deployed to ensure security in150,000 polling stations across the country. President GoodluckJonathan has assured that the security forces will deal withanyone attempting to disrupt the vote, to ensure no repetitionof the post-election violence in 2011 in which 800 people died.President Goodluck Jonathan of the People's Democratic Party(PDP) which has been

(AGI) Lagos, Mar 27 - Seventy million Nigerians will go to thepolls on Saturday in the country's presidential andparliamentary elections, held in a climate of terror sown bythe Islamist militants of Boko Haram. More than 360,000soldiers and policemen will be deployed to ensure security in150,000 polling stations across the country. President GoodluckJonathan has assured that the security forces will deal withanyone attempting to disrupt the vote, to ensure no repetitionof the post-election violence in 2011 in which 800 people died.President Goodluck Jonathan of the People's Democratic Party(PDP) which has been in power since 1999, is being challengedby the former general Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim and a memberof the All Progressives Congress (APC) who led the countrybetween 1983 and 1985. One woman is standing among the 12candidates of other parties: Ebun Sonaiya of the KOWA Party.The new government will take office on May 29. The electionstake place against a background of the Islamist threat, whilethe army continues its offensive in the northeast where it hasrecaptured the city of Gwoza and destroyed the localheadquarters of Boko Haram. Nigeria has Africa's largesteconomy thanks to oil exports, and with 173 million people itis also the the continent's most populous country. According toforecasts, Jonathan should beat Buhari to win a fourth term,due to his popularity in the Christian majority south. However,his government faces criticism for struggling to defeat BokoHaram. In contrast, Mr Buhari's support comes from thepredominantly Muslim north. Throughout the campaign he hasfocused on combating terrorism, promising to defeat theextremists within a few months. One thousand internationalobservers will monitor the elections. After the presidentialand parliamentary polls on Saturday 29 of the 36 Nigerianstates will vote for governors and local assemblies on Apr. 11.The other seven states will go to polls over the next twoyears. (AGI).