21 candidates have been confirmed for the Presidential elections in Nigeria, set for 9th April 2011.
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Attahiru Jega, also announced that four parties would be represented in every constituency for the General Elections. These are:
- Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN);
- All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP);
- Congress for Progressive Change (CPC);
- Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
According to the INEC Chairman, nine political parties did not submit any candidate for the 2011 general elections.
Muslim leader Umaru Yar’Adua died in 2010 during his Presidency, leaving Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian, to assume the interim presidency until elections could be called. Nigeria is broadly divided into a Islamic North and a Christian South and is one of the most populous countries on Earth with more than 154 million people recorded in the nation in 2009.
The incumbent President, Goodluck Jonathan recently said at a rally in Makurdi:
“Nigerians’ votes must count.
“We must vote the people we want. We no longer want a situation where people are imposed on us.
“I promise Nigerians that even though I am contesting, nobody will manipulate any vote in my favour.
“We don’t believe that although we are the ruling party and we are in government, any governmental instrument be used in our favour.”
A delegation from the Commonwealth Secretariat visited to check on the progress of election preparation early in February. Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba said:
“Any election is a complex and challenging undertaking and requires the cooperation and support of all stakeholders. Political leaders and parties must display political will to ensure a credible process. The people need to show faith in the democratic process and participate in it. It is crucial that violence is avoided by all means, and the rule of law must be allowed to prevail. All must ensure that both the process and outcome meet Commonwealth values as well as international and regional electoral benchmarks to which Nigeria has committed itself.”
The dates of the elections in Nigeria are as follows:
- National Assembly Elections 2/4/2011 – 17/4/2011
- Presidential Elections 9/4/2011 – 10/4/2011
- Government/State Assembly Elections 16/4/2011 – 17/4/2011