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Nigeria Elections - 2015

Should President Goodluck Jonathan decide to contest the 14 February 2015 presidential election, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will have no choice than to give him the ticket, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, declared 01 August 2013. By then, five northern state governors had been going around the country, ostensibly to stop any attempt by the President to go for a second term in office. The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) insisted that power must return to the region in 2015. But the region has never been united in elections - President Shehu Shagari contested against Mallam Aminu Kano in the 1979 elections and won against all calculations of the North.

Prominent members of Nigerias ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) unanimously endorsed incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan to be the groups candidate in Februarys presidential election, according to Senator Walid Jibrin, Secretary of the partys Board of Trustees. Jibrin said 19 September 2014 the National Executive Council, the Board of Trustees, governors forum, as well as the senators caucus and various women's groups chose Jonathan to represent the party ahead of the PDPs primary scheduled for November.

The office of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan confirmed 29 October 2014 he will run for another term. Spokesman Reuben Abati said that Jonathan will pick up his party's nomination form on Thursday for the February 2015 election. The formality was expected after the ruling People's Democratic Party nominated President Jonathan as its "sole candidate" in September 2014. Jonathan won the ruling party ticket on 11 December 2014, with no challenger stepping forward from the ruling People's Democratic Party to oppose him.

Created out of four regional parties in 2013, the core of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) support is in the Muslim north and the religiously-mixed southwest. Presidential aspirants and chieftains of the party were divided over an acceptable method to be used in selecting the partys presidential candidate for the next years election. The APC had a national convention scheduled on 29 October 2014 with primaries scheduled for 02 December 2014.

The two leading candidates of the APC opposition were serial failures. Potential challengers to Jonathan such as retired Major Gen. Muhammadu Buhari or former Nigerian Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, had failed in the past in their quest to be elected president. Atiku tried twice and failed; Buhari has done it four times and has failed. Buhari won a rare reputation as a fighter against corruption during his timing ruling Nigeria from 1983-85. Most Nigerians agree he did not use the presidency to enrich himself and his backers. But the generals campaigns lacked adequate funding and his overall logistics suffered thereby. Buharis major electoral weakness has been his weak campaigns that were characterized by very poor publicity of his personal qualities. Buhari ran in the 2011 presidential election, but lost to President Jonathan. That result set off violence in the Muslim-majority north that killed some 800 people.

Nigeria's ex-military ruler Muhammadu Buhari was selected on 11 December 2014 as the main opposition candidate in next year's presidential ballot after triumphing in the All Progressives Congress [APC] primary election. Buhari won 3,430 votes out of a total around 6,000 cast, with the governor of the northern Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso, coming second in the five-strong race with 974 votes. Former vice president Atiku Abubakar secured just 954 ballots. Nigerian presidential hopeful Muhammadu Buhari picked a Christian law professor, Yemi Osinbajo, to be his running mate in the February election.

Disunity among opposition groups has helped the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, or PDP, to claim victory in the previous four contests. But that changed in 2013, when leading opposition parties overcame differences to form the All Progressives Congress, or APC. Analysts expected that party to present a major challenge to the PDP and their leader, incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan.

On 08 February 2015 the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) postponed the February election to 28 March. The administration urged the electoral body to ensure an estimated 10 million Nigerians were not excluded from the vote because they had yet to receive a biometric Permanent Voter Card (PVC) to enable them to participate in the poll. The government also expressed concerns about the prevailing security situation in parts of the countrys north. Opposition groups. including main opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), said the postponement of the poll was a setback for the countrys democracy.

Following a six-week postponement stemming from security concerns and violence perpetrated by Boko Haram, Nigerians head to the polls on March 28 for presidential and National Assembly elections and return on April 11 for governorship and State House of Assembly elections.

Despite the challenging security environment, a pre-election survey conducted by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) found that 61 percent of Nigerians are very likely to vote in the presidential elections and 49 percent are very likely to vote in the National Assembly elections. With over 68 million registered voters; a large contingent of internally displaced persons; and thousands of candidates squaring off for some 1,500 seats, the March elections will be a challenging endeavor for Africa's largest democracy and the continent's largest economy.

The Jonathan administration had enjoyed some major successes, such when an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in Lagos was quickly contained last year. The southern Niger Delta region home to the countrys massive oil reserves has remained quiet under his watch, after Yar'adua gave amnesty to militants who were attacking the vital oil industry. Endemic corruption, an economy weighed down by sinking oil prices and, most of all, the brutal Boko Haram insurgency may turn out to be millstones that prevent him from being reelected on March 28.

The issue of Nigerias inability to quell the insurgency has become central to the presidential campaign, with opposition leaders criticizing Jonathans inability to end the violence. Jonathans challenger, Muhammadu Buhari, made it a campaign issue.

"Because of the way that this government has degraded the army, we now find the need to engage mercenaries, Yemi Osinbajo, who is Buharis running mate, told VOA on March 15. "There is absolutely no reason at all why the Nigerian army, which is one of the finest armies in the world, now have to engage mercenaries to come and fight, he said.

Nearly 60 million potential voters were set to choose their president and 360 other legislators for the House of Assembly on Saturday March 28, 2015, but technical problems with a new computerized anti-fraud system caused delays and long lines and prompted officials to extend voting into Sunday. In some places, hand-held biometric voter card reader machines appeared to malfunction in reading the new cards. Many polling stations opened late because of delays in getting voting materials, and problems with the accreditation process.

Jonathan faced criticism after the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in the oil-rich Rivers state dismissed the result and accused him of killing their campaigners and turning the elections into "a sham and a charade." The political tension in Rivers state could result in a disputed national result, prompting riots like those in 2011, when more than 800 were killed in Nigeria's mainly Muslim north.

Goodluck Jonathan called rival Muhammadu Buhari 31 March 2015 to concede the election, after election results on Tuesday showed Buhari with an insurmountable lead. The Independent National Electoral Commission had not announced a winner as of Tuesday evening, though with only one state's results remaining, Buhari led Jonathan by nearly 2 million votes. Buhari also won at least 25 percent of the vote in at least 24 states, as required under the constitution.

Christopher Wylie, the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower who claims that the project he led resulted in the company's unethical use of Facebook data to help elect Donald Trump, made a series of shocking claims in front of a British parliamentary committee on 26 March 2018. Wylie told MPs that the SLC, the parent company of CA, was involved in the 2015 Nigerian election, allegedly distributing compromising material and hacking information from presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari. Wylie described the organization as "incredibly anti-Islamic," producing "threatening" messages "portraying Muslims as violent."

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