The elections take place in three stages.
- The first stage begins with the election of a National Assembly
- Secondly, a week later the president is then chosen
- thirdly, a week after this the election process concludes with the election of 36 national governors.
Nigeria Elections by the numbers (courtesy of the BBC)
- 74 million registered voters
- 360 national assemblies
- 109 senators
- 54 parties contesting the elections
- 36 governors
- 20 presidential candidates
"The People's Democratic Party (PDP) has won all elections since the end of military rule in 1999. It won two-thirds of Nigeria's 36 states last time. But having a southerner - President Goodluck Jonathan - as its candidate in the presidential elections may lose it some votes in the north."
These elections will be dominated by several key issues
- Security will remain the dominant issue as deadly outbreaks of violence have continued to ravish the country since the country returned to a democracy in 1999
- Oil - a significant source of the countries wealth has remained a point of dispute as local people, especially in the Niger Delta want a greater say over how the revenues generated from its natural resources are spent
- Jobs and living standards which has risen up the political agenda as infrastructural development spending as all but disappeared
- Corruption - despite the fact the country is the worlds 6th largest oil producer, selling around 2m barrels a day to the world markets, very little filters down to the wider public
- Despite the country vast natural resources, Nigeria suffers from frequent blackouts eventhough there has been $16bn investment in the countries infrastructure to improve supply. There is still a 96,000MW capacity shortfall.
- President Goodluck Jonathan of the Ruling People's Democratic Party - Favourite candidate
- Former military ruler Mahummadu Buhari of the Congress for Progressive Change - previously contested the elections in 2003 and 2007
- Nuhu Ribadu, Former head of the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission is the leader of Action Congress of Nigeria - largest opposition party
- The fourth candidate that realistically stands a chance of winning is Ibrahim Shekarau of the All Peoples Party
[for a detailed analysis of the four candidates mentioned above click on their names for direct link to their campaign websites]
For a complete list of all 20 presidential candidates
For election news updates from the Independent National Electoral Commission click
The entire country has now been put on election footing as the national assembly has now closed all land borders, additionally restrictions have also been put on road traffic movements. The national assembly commented on these measures saying "this is ensure a peaceful and hitch free conduct of the 2011 national assembly elections".