Former South African President Thabo Mbeki, who chairs the Commonwealth Observer Mission, has met with stakeholders in Nigeria ahead of the country’s general elections.
Nigerians will vote on Saturday in what could be their most credible and close electoral contest since military rule ended nearly a quarter of a century ago – and the first in which a presidential candidate who is not from one of the two main parties stands a chance.
There are three main presidential candidates Bola Tinubu, Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi.
Mbeki urged Nigeria’s political parties, candidates and their supporters to play their parts in ensuring peaceful, transparent and credible elections over the weekend.
The meetings were aimed at getting information about the upcoming elections.
The term of office of the current President Muhammadu Buhari is coming to an end. Nigerians will elect a new President.
There are security concerns, particularly in Northern Nigeria where Boko Haram has killed many people. Law enforcement agencies and the military have warned against any violence.
Former Lagos governor Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) faces Atiku Abubakar of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi, a wild- card candidate who defected from the PDP to the smaller Labour Party and now leads in at least five opinion polls.
Obi, 61, has used a slick social media campaign to galvanise the vote of restless and increasingly disaffected youth, fed up with traditional politics and the old men who tend to dominate them – Tinubu and Abubakar are both in their 70s.
But analysts question whether the polls Obi leads are reliable and note he does not have the resources or extensive political base – built up over decades – that the other two have.
Whoever Nigerians choose to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari – only the second incumbent in Nigerian history to bow out willingly after serving two democratic terms – will have to resolve a litany of crises that have worsened under the retired army general’s administration. -Additional reporting by Reuters