from Africa in Transition

Jonathan, Buhari Are Hopeful Ahead of Elections

March 29, 2011

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Elections and Voting

Polls and Public Opinion

Nigerian Civil Defence Corp members walk past banners campaigning for Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and vice President Namadi Sambo at their final campaign rally in the capital Abuja. (Afolabi Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

A mere four days before Nigeria’s polling stations open for the general elections, incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, remain optimistic about the outcome. The TNS-RMS opinion poll released on Monday predicts that Jonathan will win the election with 66 percent of the vote. I have questioned the THISDAY/Ipsos opinion poll earlier this month. Undeterred by the recent figures from TNS-RMS, Buhari has turned his focus toward garnering the mandatory 25 percent of the vote in at least seven southern states, after his field officers reported he has strong support in the nineteen northern states. In the meantime, former military leader Ibrahim Babangida has thrown his support behind the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) candidate, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, and his running mate Fiola Adeola, saying “I have strong faith in them and I believe they can deliver.”

Meanwhile, the nation’s security agencies have put under surveillance a number of prominent politicians, including: Babangida; Atiku Abubakar, the former vice-president; Aliyu Gusau, the former national security advisor; and other prominent leaders of the PDP and the Northern Political Leaders Forum (NPLF). In addition to increased surveillance, the Nigerian government has deployed at least ten thousand policemen to Kaduna state, or two policemen per polling station in the area. Both Jonathan and Buhari appear optimistic before the April 9 presidential vote, and the federal government may be taking seriously the potential security issues.