As Africa’s most populated and economic power house, Nigeria commences its 2015 general elections this Saturday, they are five notable figures whose actions could either make or mar the outcome of the polls and its aftermath.
According to Punch publication, here are five key figures:
1. President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan
The current president of Nigeria is seeking a second term after a tumultuous five years plagued by the dramatic rise in strength of Boko Haram Islamists and a widely criticised job performance.
According to Analysts, he has failed to tackle corruption or improve infrastructure, especially electricity supply, but Jonathan still has supporters, particularly in the mainly Christian south of the religiously divided nation.
2. General Muhammadu Buhari
The former Head of State is taking his fourth shot at the presidency since democracy was restored in 1999, and has tried to position himself as Nigeria’s top anti-corruption advocator.
If GEJ is re-elected, Buhari’s actions could prove crucial in avoiding widespread post-election unrest.
Analysts claim the predominantly Muslim north is a tinderbox that may explode if Buhari, the region’s favourite son, is perceived as having been cheated out of an electoral win.
3. Abubakar Shekau
The dreaded and deadly Insurgent’s kingpin, a world’s MOST-wanted criminal who is suspected of orchestrating crimes against humanity, he has vowed to disrupt the polls, which the Islamist group views as “un-Islamic”.
Shekau’s pledge may turn out to be empty bluster but given Boko Haram’s proven ability to rain chaos across northern Nigeria, the possibility exists of widespread attacks, including bombings, on polling day.
4. Attahiru Jega
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission has faced fierce criticism from both the opposition and the ruling party during the campaign.
Fair observers broadly see him as tough-minded, independent administrator committed to overseeing a fair and credible vote.
5. Nigerian Security Chiefs
The reliance on Nigeria’s military and police around Election Day will likely be crucial in ensuring the vote is respected nationwide.
The Defence ministry has issued clear statements declaring itself to be a completely non-partisan actor in the polls but troubling events in recent months have raised concern.