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Nigeria Begins National Elections Saturday with Senate Races

Nigeria’s national elections begin Saturday with the senatorial races. They kick off more than three weeks of voting, including the presidential and governorship races in 36 states.

Despite some problems leading up to the vote, candidates and the electorate are looking forward to it, says Hope Uzodinma of the ruling PDP, a candidate for the Senate in Imo West in the southeastern state of Imo.

Uzodinma says he has visited every corner of the state to sell his plans to the electorate.

“We have campaigned sufficiently; we have reached out to the people with our manifesto. Our people are…ready for the election,” he said.

Several candidates have criticized the preparations of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and expressed fear that the voting may not be free and fair. But Uzodinma is not concerned.

“With what is on the ground here, we are very satisfied,” he says. He expressed satisfaction with “the open ballot system they have introduced and that would allow people the opportunity to express their support to whomever they want.”

“I have run a good race and expect to win,” says Uzodinma.

Uzodinma says although he had to fight a court battle over his eligibility to become the ruling PDP candidate, he has the support of the people.

“My candidature is not encumbered. A few days to this election, we are ready,” he says.”