Saturday, April 16, 2011

Nigerians out in force for presidential vote

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigerians voted in masses on Saturday in what they hope will be their first credible presidential election for decades and could set an example across Africa.

Queues formed early across Nigeria, including the village of tin-roofed shacks in the Niger Delta where front-runner President Goodluck Jonathan voted and the dusty alleyway in the northern village of Daura where his main rival, former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, cast his ballot.

Across most of the country of 150 million there was no sign of the chaos and violence that has dogged past elections although two bombs panicked voters in the troubled northeastern city of Maiduguri. There were no reports of casualties.

The polls pit Jonathan, the first head of state from the oil-producing Niger Delta, against Buhari, a northern Muslim with a reputation as a disciplinarian.

"People are coming out massively," said Ogbu Titus, a 53-year old teacher at the courtyard of a primary school on the edge of Abuja where hundreds of people had gathered. There are more than 73 million registered voters.


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