In Nigerian elections, the incumbent always wins. But so far this campaign has been different from all others and this Saturday’s poll is a real contest. Not only has President Goodluck Jonathan haemorrhaged support since he comfortably won in 2011, the “change” chanting opposition has thrown its combined weight behind one candidate – former military ruler, Muhammadu Buhari.
In a country where opinion polls can be trusted about as much as a politician’s promise, it is hard, even foolish, to predict the outcome. With control over Africa’s largest economy at stake – this is a country where multi-billion dollar corruption scandals come and go – the campaigns have been toxic with both the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) hurling abuse at each other.
Elections in parts of Nigeria have been extended until Sunday after delays and a number of attacks. The delays were “not widespread” but were still “a matter of concern”, an election official told the BBC. Technical problems with new biometric cards slowed down voter registration, even affecting President Goodluck Jonathan. The election is said to be the most closely fought since independence.