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Nigerians vote in elections for governors and state assemblies

Nigerians are voting to elect state governors and local assemblies in the final state of national elections. The vote comes two weeks after a historic opposition win at presidential polls.

Polling stations opened across Nigeria on Saturday for elections to choose between some 760 candidates for 29 governor and deputy governor positions.

Voters will also be electing local assemblies in all 36 of Nigeria's states.

Governors in Nigeria wield considerable power and have relatively large budgets at their disposal, making the position a hotly contested one.

Past governorship elections have seen manipulation of various sorts, including the stealing of ballot boxes and voter intimidation.

In a bid to prevent fraud, the biometric voting cards used for the first time in last month's vote are being employed for the final election stage as well, despite some malfunctions the last time that led to a second day of voting in some places.

Historic win

Saturday's poll comes two weeks after Muhammadu Buhari of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) beat President Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in a first-time win for an opposition party in presidential elections.

The APC is looking to bolster its win by taking some of the 21 governorships currently in the hands of the PDP to add to the 14 it holds at present.

The governors elected in Saturday's poll will take office on May 29, as will Buhari.

Nigeria's police and security forces have taken nationwide measures to prevent election violence, with restrictions on the movement of vehicles during polling hours and the closing of the country's land borders.

Results from the vote are expected to come in from Sunday.

tj/jr (AFP, Reuters)

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