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Nigeria Closes Borders, Tightens Security Before Presidential Vote

After casting their ballots earlier this month, voters in Abuja await the results. Election officials have asked voters to await the results at the stations to help ensure there's no tampering. The presidential vote is set for Saturday, April 16.

-- Nigeria holds its presidential elections Saturday and security is tight throughout the country. The military has a strong presence and is ready to help police in the event of any election violence.

Nigeria has closed its borders with neighboring countries in advance of the vote. Nigeria shares ethnic groups with some of its neighbors, resulting in many names that are the same. Election authorities want to ensure that only Nigerians go to the polls.

The ballot papers were printed in China. Authorities say not only was it cheaper, but China guaranteed the election materials would be delivered on time. Officials say it was difficult finding a Nigerian firm that could meet those conditions.

President Goodluck Jonathan, who assumed power after the death of President Yar‘Adua, is seeking a full, four-year term in office. His chances were boosted this week by the failure of the three main opposition parties to agree on a consensus candidate. The ruling PDP says it hopes Jonathan will win enough votes Saturday to prevent a run-off election.

VOA reporter Chinedu Offor is on assignment in Nigeria, reporting Friday from Port Harcourt in Rivers State. To hear his interview with Joe De Capua, click on the link below.