Voting is underway in Nigeria as voters choose a new president, a week after the poll was delayed due to logistical challenges.
The over 84 million voters are also choosing new leaders for the national assembly.
Polls opened at 8am local time on Saturday across the country. Electoral commission officials have assured all is set for a fair process.
Millions of Nigerians were disappointed when voting on February 16 was called off by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Shifting voting in Presidential and National Assembly elections to Saturday February 23 meant governorship and state assembly elections will take now place on March 9, instead of original March 2 date.
There have been concerns about many not returning to their communities to vote due to the delay.
Nigerian officials however provided incentives by reducing fuel price by $1 which was to impact transportation fares.
The idea was that it will encourage people to return to their communities to vote.
#NigeriaDecides2019 #INEC #NigeriaDecides Today, Nigerians will decide. We pray a credible election as we make our choice. @NGRSenate @inecnigeria @OfficialPDPNig @OfficialAPCNg pic.twitter.com/NSiAEDuAXD
— Emmy kings Ofem (@EmmyOfemKings) February 23, 2019ADVERTISEMENT
Violence has also been a major concern for many in areas targeted by militant activities.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday said Nigerians should “not be afraid of rumours of violence and unrest. Our security agencies have worked diligently to ensure that adequate security measures are in place.”
“You will be able to vote in an atmosphere of openness and peace, devoid of fear from threat or intimidation,” Buhari further said.
Incumbent Buhari is facing a tough challenge in Atiku Abubakar from the opposition.
Buhari who took office on May 29, 2015 defeated the then sitting President Goodluck Jonathan.
He contested for president in 2003, 2007 and 2011 but only became successful and 2015.
— Bashir Ahmad (@BashirAhmaad) February 23, 2019
Buhari, 76, first took power in Nigeria in 1983 after a military coup. But his former ally, Atiku Abubakar the 72-year-old candidate is this time round leading the PDP into the election.
Atiku was vice president former president Olusegun Obasanjo for eight years. He backed Buhari in the previous election.
Atiku, like Buhari, is also a northern Muslim, born in Adamawa state.
Some vital details
The electoral commission only declares a candidate winner in the first round should that candidate gains at least 25% of the votes in two-thirds of Nigeria’s 36 states.
There are over 84 million registered voters in this election with 51 percent of them under the age of 35.
Nigeria however has 73 registered candidates contesting the presidential election.
But the PDP and APC are the dominant parties and their candidates are the leading contenders.
Voting will be taking place in 120,000 polling stations.
There are 120 domestic and 36 international observer groups with the deployment of some 73,000 observers