Nigerian leader urges big voter turnout

April 15, 2011 at 8:10 AM
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ABUJA, Nigeria, April 15 (UPI) -- Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan urged voters to turn out in large numbers for Saturday's presidential election.

"I thank Nigerians for the large turnout during the National Assembly elections held last Saturday and urge them all to turn out en masse during the presidential elections ... and the subsequent elections to vote for candidates of their choice," Jonathan said in Abuja, reported Friday.

Jonathan, of the ruling People's Democratic Party, faces challenges from former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari of the Congress for Progressive Change, Kano state Gov. Mohammed Shekarau of the All Nigeria People Party and former anti-corruption chief Nuhu Ribadu.

The election will be observed by monitors from the African Union, the Economic Community Of West African States and the European Union.

Attahiru Jega, chairman of Nigeria's Independent National Electoral Commission, said election materials were distributed and "there is very good working relationship between our officers and security agents."

Nigeria began its multi-day elections with parliamentary ballots April 9 after experiencing delays because of logistics and an inadequate supply of election materials. Officials said parliamentary elections will be conducted April 26 in districts that didn't have enough election materials initially.

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