Nigeria, Senegal choose leaders

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Updated: March 6, 2021


Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation would be re-electing President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday or replacing him with former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. There are about 70 candidates, but most of Nigeria’s 190 million people can barely recognize the other contestants on the street, let a lone remember the correct spelling of their names.

Over 84 million people registered to vote according to Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission, but about 72 million people had collected their Permanent Voters Cards as at the last update, and should be able to hit the polling stations on Saturday, February 23.

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To be elected President of Nigeria in the first round, a candidate must receive a majority of the vote and over 25% of the vote in at least 24 of the 36 states. If no candidate passes this threshold, a second round is held.

A run off is possible and legal challenges are expected to follow the Saturday votes, especially after the electoral body postponed the election from February 16 to February 23, citing operational issues.

Thousands of miles, away, another African country would be choosing its President.
In Senegal, about six and half million people are registered to vote with five candidates gunning for the highest office in the land.

President Macky Sall who has been in office since 2012 is seeking a five-year mandate extension in one of Africa’s most stable democracies.

Since its independence in 1960, Senegal has remained virtually stable, from President Leopold Sedar Senghor to Macky Sall.

Senegal has had four presidents; Senghor, Abdou Diouf, Abdoulaye Wade, the first opposition candidate to defeat an incumbent and Macky Sall, the fourth president who beat Wade in 2012.

A 2016 referendum slashed the presidential term from seven-years to five years.
Reports from the West African country say Sall does not have a serious opponent.

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Simon Ateba Washington DC
Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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