Mixed expectations as Nigerians head to polls


Analysts project tight outcome

By Tasie Theodore

There are mixed expectations within Nigeria and beyond as citizens of Africa’s most populous state head to the polls, Saturday.

The polls which is the first stage in a two-track voting process would see the voters choosing from a field of about 73 formally listed contenders (real numbers as at now come to just about a dozen) who are vying for the office of President.

Voters would also be choosing 109 senators and 360 members of the Federal House of Representatives from a crowded field of about 2000 contenders.

Analysts say the outcome, particularly for the presidential contest, remains open, with a large throng of undecided and conflicted voters making last-minute decisions on whom they would eventually vote for.

Despite this, expectations are mixed that though the nation has the chance of making significant progress going forward, this would only come to fruition when voters insist on electing a leadership that would frontally maximise the huge potentials of the nation in a positive growth trajectory, as well as if the outcome also sees the light of day.

Writing for the Brookings Institution, an American think thank, former ADB Vice President, Aloysius Uche Ordu remarked that there is indeed something to hold on to in the forthcoming polls, though the uncertainties remain:

‘The good news in Nigeria is that ethnic strife has given way to discussions of economic issues, infrastructure, corruption, and security. This positive development has recently been overshadowed by the brazen attack on the judiciary, a key institution of democratic governance.’

And in another development, Minister of State for Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri (PhD) has appealed to the people of Bayelsa State to turn out in their large numbers to vote in Saturday’s election.

The Minister also urged the people to conduct themselves in orderly manner and avoid any forms of violent act during the polls.

In a statement issued by his Senior Special Statement on Media George Oji, Senator Lokpobiri assured the people of adequate protection as the security agencies have been put on red alert to guarantee peace and deal with any elements fomenting violence and misconduct during the election.

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