Nigerians began voting on Saturday (7 July) in the first of five elections to return the West African Republic to civilian rule.
Nigerians began voting on Saturday (7 July) in the first of five elections to return the West African Republic to civilian rule. Nigeria has been governed by the military since 1966 and the elections are the climax of a four year programme adopted in 1975. At that time a group of officers overthrew General Yakubu Gowon, then Head of State.
SYNOPSIS: On Friday (6 July) the Voters of Black Africa's most populous nation prepared for the first part of the elections choosing a federal Senate. Then at intervals of one week, House of Representatives, Legislative Assemblies and state governors.
The New Nigerian Federal constitution is designed to balance power between the 19 federal states and a federal government and between an executive President, a two-chamber legislature and an independent judiciary. The transition of Nigeria to civilian rule has important economic implications for the west. Nigeria is the second largest foreign oil supplier to the United States and is Britain's most important export market outside Europe and America.
Five parties are contesting the elections - all with a similar left-wing outlook. All candidates have been screened to check whether they have paid their taxes for the past two years. As a result more than 800 of the 8,700 candidates were debarred. The leader of the People's Redemption Party Alhaji Aminu Kano, was disqualified because of allegations of tax evasion The Presidential election will take place on the 11th of August.