Nigeria election 2023: Millions vote in tightest-ever poll

Nigeria election 2023: Millions vote in tightest-ever poll

Voting is under way in Nigeria’s most competitive presidential election since military rule ended.

Since 1999, Africa’s most populous country has been dominated by two parties – the ruling APC and the PDP.

But this time, there is also a strong challenge from a third-party candidate – the Labour Party’s Peter Obi, who is backed by many young people.

Current President Muhammadu Buhari is stepping down after serving two four-year terms.

His All Progressives Congress (APC) is represented by former Lagos governor Bola Tinubu, while former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar is standing for the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

There are a total of 18 presidential candidates. Parliamentary elections are also taking place.

Mr Abubakar has cast his ballot, but the other two main candidates are yet to do so.

Election officials arrived late at some polling stations, including where Mr Tinubu is expected to vote.

The lead-up to the polls has been overshadowed by a cash shortage caused by a botched attempt to redesign the currency, leading to widespread chaos at banks and cash machines as desperate people sought access to their money.

The new notes were introduced in order to tackle inflation, and also vote-buying. On the eve of the election a member of the House of Representatives was arrested with almost $500,000 (£419,000) in cash, and a list of people he was supposed to give it to, police say.

Whoever wins will have to deal with the currency redesign, a crumbling economy, high youth unemployment, and widespread insecurity which saw 10,000 killed last year.

After the killing of a senatorial candidate on Wednesday by suspected gunmen from the separatist group, Ipob, the parliamentary election was postponed in the south-eastern Enugu East constituency.

The election has seen a huge interest from first-time voters and young people – a third of the 87 million eligible voters are below 35 – which may lead to a high voter turn-out than the 35% recorded in 2019.

“It is my responsibility and I have seen how important it is to vote,” 19-year-old first-time-voter Blessing Ememumodak told the BBC in Lagos.

Source: BBC

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