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It’s quite unfortunate that most Nigerians are greatly preoccupied with so many problems facing Nigeria at the moment, ranging from Boko Haram issues to the war of words between the presidential aspirants and their various supporters, that they have clearly missed out on the very important facts relevant to the imminent elections.

It’s barely one month to the general elections and most average Nigerians would not be able to give a comprehensive breakdown of the pros and cons of the forthcoming elections. It will be of great benefit if you avail yourself this opportunity to grab everything you need to know about the 2015 General elections. Don’t forget you need to be well informed in order to make the right choices.

Buhari-vs-Jonathan

Things You should know

Who and who is running for the presidential post

Apart from the two prominent presidential aspirants, being the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan of the ruling People’s Democratic Party and General Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressive Congress, there are 9 others for this 2015 presidential elections. The fact is that all of them are virtually unknown as they are not presently occupying any prominent position in the government of the nation. Of all the 11 candidates, only GEJ and GMB participated in the last election in 2011.

People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Won All Presidential Elections for 16 years 

Nigeria has conducted 4 different presidential elections since its return to Democracy in 1999. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo of the PDP won the 1999 and 2003 elections consecutively, Late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua of the PDP won the 2007 elections and President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan of the same party won the 2011 elections. It’s really striking that Gen. Muhammadu Buhari had consecutively had the second highest votes in 3, (i.e 2003,2007,2011) out of these 4 presidential elections. We all just have to wait and see if he will win this time or lose once more.

The Political Parties Represented

Political-parties

Out of the 27 Political Parties in Nigeria, only 13 parties produced presidential candidates. It’s important to point out that though 13 parties are contesting, we actually have only 11 candidates as Goodluck Jonathan was endorsed by 3 parties (PDP, LP, APGA).

These are the parties and their candidates for the 2015 Presidential Elections as released by the INEC:

PARTYACRONYMPRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATERUNNING MATE
United Progressive PartyUPPChekwas OkorieBello Umar
Allied Congress Party of NigeriaACPNGaniyu GaladimaBalarabe Ahmed
Hope Democratic PartyHDPAmbrose AlbertHaruna Shaba
United Democratic PartyUDPGodson OkoyeHaruna Adamu
All Progressives Grand AllianceAPGAGoodluck JonathanNamadi Sambo
Labour PartyLPGoodluck JonathanNamadi Sambo
Peoples Democratic PartyPDPGoodluck JonathanNamadi Sambo
National Conscience PartyNCPMartin OnovoIbrahim Mohammed
All Progressives CongressAPCMuhammadu BuhariYemi Osinbajo
African Democratic CongressADCNani Ibrahim AhmadObianuju Murphy-Uzohue
Kowa PartyKPOluremi SonaiyaSaidu Bobboi
Alliance for DemocracyADRafiu SalauClinton Cliff Akuchie
Action AllianceAATunde Anifowoshe-KelaniPaul Ishaka Ofomile

2015 Elections has the 2nd Lowest Number of Contestants 

The highest number of presidential aspirants since Nigeria’s Democracy was seen in 2011 with a total of 20 Candidates appearing on the ballot. The second highest was in 2007, with 18 candidates voted for. The lowest was in 1999 with only Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Chief Olu Falae of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), contesting. The second lowest is this year, with only 11 candidates to appear on the ballot.

Only One Woman is Running for the Post of President

Though Women make up about 49% of Nigeria’s total population, only one out of all, Miss Ebiti Ndok had the wherewithal to go for the presidency. But the funniest part of it is that even the one woman representing is very unpopular that a great number of the country’s citizens do not know her. It was actually the second time she’s aspiring; she was there in 2011.

The Presidential Aspirants Flopped the Age Limit rule

The age limit for a presidential candidate in Nigeria is 52 but 4 of the aspirants are above 52. Goodluck Jonathan(57), his primary rival, Muhammadu Buhari(72), Professor Oluremi Sonaiya(59), and Rafiu Salau(58). It will be nice to point out here, that President Goodluck Jonathan is the second youngest President democratically elected after Tafawa Balewa became the first and only prime minister of in 1960 at the age of 48 years. He assumed the office of the President at the age of 53. Buhari is, however, the oldest presidential candidate this year, the third oldest in Nigeria’s history, (after founding fathers Nnamdi Azikiwe and Obafemi Awolowo, who were 79 and 74 respectively when they contested for the presidency in 1983), and will eventually become Nigeria’s oldest president ever if he wins.

The Geo-political zones represented

Out of Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones, only one zone did not produce a candidate for the 2015 presidential elections. I believe you can guess the zone; that’s the North-east, the Boko Haram infested zone. The last president from this zone was Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, and that was in 1960.

geo

No Candidate from the South-eastern has ever won Presidential Elections

Though 4 candidates are currently from this zone, it’s very clear that none of them has chances of winning. Buhari is from the North-west while GEJ is from the South-south. The South-west has 3 candidates while the North-central has 2. It is not as if the south-east lack people who can go for the presidency, but it may simply mean they’ve never been lucky to get there. These are Prominent south-easterners who have contested in Nigeria’s presidential elections: Former Abia State Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu (2007), Late Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu (2003 and 2007), Jim Nwobodo (2003), Ike Nwachukwu (2003).

Educational Qualifications of the Presidential Candidates

There is 1 professor, Oluremi Sonaiya, 5 PhD holders, 1 Masters Degree holder, 1 HND holder, and 2 SSCE holders. Goodluck Jonathan is a PhD holder while Buhari is an SSCE holder. There are also controversies beclouding the O’level Certificate he presented.

See also: Nigerian Presidents’ Academic Qualifications: 1960 Till Date

Number of Eligible Voters

Out of Nigeria’s total population which is about 160 million, only 68,833,476 were registered to vote in the 2015 General Elections. And only 75% of this figure have collected their permanent voter’s cards.

The Election Dates

March 28 and April 11 have been respectively fixed for the Presidential/National Assembly and Governorship/State House of Assembly Elections. Below is the timetable for the 2015 General Elections as released by the INEC:

INEC AMENDED TIMETABLE & SCHEDULE OF ACTIVITIES FOR GENERAL ELECTIONS, 2015

Consequent upon the rescheduling of the dates for the 2015 General Elections, the timetable and schedule of activities for the 2015 General Elections are amended as hereunder.

S/NACTIVITYDATEREMARK
1Notice of election1st October 2014Section 30 (1) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) provides not later than 90 days before the election.
2Commencement of campaign by Political PartiesPresidential & National Assembly-16th November 2014; Governorship & State House of Assembly-30th November 2014.Section 99(1) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) provides 90 days before polling day.
3Collection of Forms for all elections by Political Parties at INEC Headquarters.4th – 11th November 2014For Political Parties to issue to their candidates.
4Conduct of Party Primaries including resolution of disputes arising from the Primaries.Commencement date 2nd October 2014 End 11th December 2014To enable Political Parties democratically nominate candidates for the election as required by Section 87 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended)
5Last day for submission of Forms CF001 and CF002 at the INEC Headquarters (for all elections).Presidential & National Assembly – 18th December 2014; Governorship & State House of Assembly -25th December 2014Section 31(1) of the Electoral Act, 2010(as amended) provides for not later than 60 days before the election.
6Publication of Personal Particulars of candidates (CF001) (for all elections).Presidential & National Assembly -25th December 2014; Governorship & State House of Assembly – 1st January 2015Section 31(3) of the Electoral Act, 2010(as amended) provides for publication within 7 days of the receipt of the form CF001.
7Last day for withdrawal by candidate(s)/replacement of the withdrawn candidate(s) by Political Parties.Presidential & National Assembly -30th December 2014 Governorship & State House of Assembly -13th January 2015Section 35 of the Electoral Act, 2010(as amended) provides for not later than 45 days before the election.
8Last day for the submission of Nomination forms by Political Parties.Presidential & National Assembly – 6th January 2015 Governorship & State House of Assembly – 20th January 2015Sections 32, 37, 38 and 39 of the Electoral Act 2010(as amended). (Commission to appoint the time for submission).
9Publication of official Register of voters for the election.13th January 2015Section 20 of the Electoral Act, 2010(as amended) provides not later than 30 days before the election.
10 Publication of list of nominated candidates.Presidential & National Assembly -13th January 2015 Governorship & State House of Assembly – 27th January 2015Section 34 of the Electoral Act, 2010(as amended) provides at least 30 days before the day of the election.
11 Publication of Notice of Poll (for all elections)28th January 2015Section 46 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) provides not later than 14 days before the election.
12Submission of names of Party Agents for the Election to the Electoral Officer of the Local Government Areas or Area CouncilsPresidential & National Assembly – 29th January 2015 Governorship & State House of Assembly – 12th February 2015Section 45 of the Electoral Act, 2010(as amended). Provides not later than 7 days before the election.
13Last day for campaignsPresidential & National Assembly – 26th March 2015 Governorship & State House of Assembly – 9th April 2015Section 99(1) of the Electoral Act, 2010(as amended)prohibits Advertisements or broadcasts of campaigns 24 hours prior to the day of an election.
14 Dates of Elections Presidential /National AssemblyGovernorship/State House of AssemblyPresidential & National Assembly – 28th March 2015 Governorship & State House of Assembly – 11th April 2015Section 25 of the Electoral Act, 2010(as amended), provides that Commission to appoint date not earlier than 150 days but not later than 30 days before the expiration of the term of office of the last holder of that office.