Nigeria hopes for peaceful governorship elections | Africa | DW | 10.04.2015
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Nigeria hopes for peaceful governorship elections

Nigerians return to the polls for gubernatorial elections, two weeks after the opposition won the presidential race. The city of Lagos drives the country's economy and has been opposition-controlled since 1999.

PDPs governorship candidate Jimi Agbaje speaks to journalists.

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governership candidate in Lagos, Jimi Agbaje

Nigeria is holding governorship and legislative elections for its 36 states on Saturday (11.04.2015). This comes two weeks after presidential and federal parliamentary elections. As in the presidential elections, the key contending parties are the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the main opposition All Progressives Congress (APC).

These elections are crucial for both parties. The PDP needs a success after losing the presidential election and the majority of seats in the federal parliament to the APC. The APC for its part will be looking to consolidate its gains. The most crucial battle will be for the control of Lagos, Nigeria's commercial capital.

Close race in Lagos State

As residents of Lagos prepare for the election, they are aware that both the PDP and APC are desperate to produce the next governor in Lagos State.

An official of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) arrives with electoral documents.

Observers expect another tight race

Lagos resident Mayowa Adebola told DW the stakes are high for both parties. "The Lagos State governorship election is really going to be tough because APC would not want to lose the state they have been controlling for 16 years, while PDP will want to take the state because thy have lost at federal level," he said.

Adebola thinks that after the PDP lost at federal level they are now going to fight like "wounded lions."

"Lagos remains the prime state where PDP wants to dominate," he said, adding that "controlling Lagos is as good as controlling 50 percent of Nigeria."

Stephen Oguntoyibo has been monitoring the build-up on social media. He told DW that "it is a close race that both of them are running", marked by a lot of aggression.

Election not war

A street vendor sells popcorn in front of a defaced electoral poster of former Nigerian military ruler Muhammadu Buhari in the oil hub of Port Harcourt.

Residents hope for a peaceful election

Some Lagos residents, like Oluseun Onigbinde, are concerned about the prospect of violence during the election. He said that he was concerned about safety in Lagos since there had been some pockets of violence caused by some ethnic militia groups. He hopes people will understand that this is an "election and not war."

There had also been fears that the presidential election on 28 March would result in violence but President Goodluck Jonathan doused those fears after conceding defeat. It remains to be seen whether the loser of the Lagos governorship election will follow Jonathan's example.

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