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Nigerians Prepare to Vote in High-Stakes Presidential Election Amid Ongoing Violence

HeadlineFeb 23, 2023

In Nigeria, 18 presidential candidates have signed a second peace pact ahead of Saturday’s pivotal election in Africa’s most populous nation. Nigerians will cast ballots for their next president, as well as lawmakers, as Muhammadu Buhari steps down after serving the two presidential terms allowed by the constitution. It’s the first time a candidate who is not from one of the two main parties could win since the end of military rule nearly a quarter of a century ago. The three front-runners are Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Atiku Abubakar of the main opposition party Peoples Democratic Party and Peter Obi of the Labour Party. Voters are hoping the next leader will be able to address the ongoing security threats, from insurgents to kidnappings, as well as double-digit inflation and unprecedented oil theft.

Violence has plagued Nigeria in the run-up to the election. On Wednesday, gunmen killed a senatorial candidate from the Labour Party in southeastern Enugu State, just days after suspected rebels killed eight police officers. Some people say they will not vote for fear of reprisals as Nigeria’s electoral commission announced Monday that 240 polling stations will remain closed because of security concerns. This is a farmer in Zamfara state who was forced to flee his home last year after his community came under attack.

Ahmadu Garkuwa: “Because my life is being threatened by bandits, they are targeting my life. I barely managed to escape from the east, and they are still looking for me. So how can I go out and cast my vote?”

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