Nigerians go to polls today

A Nigerian senatorial can­didate was on Wednesday shot dead and his body burnt by attackers while on his way from a campaign rally in the southern state of Enugu.

The death of Oyibo Chukwu of the Labour Party happened three days before Saturday’s general elections – which are being described as the country’s most competitive polls in 24 years.

His aides who were with him were also shot dead before their car was set ablaze with the bodies inside, local outlets report.

“Our party members are being targeted for assassination by po­litical parties that felt threatened by the rise of the Labour Party in the state, and are afraid they may lose the Saturday’s election,” said Chijioke Edeoga, a candidate for the governor’s seat in the state.

The Labour Party has not commented on the attack, but its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, has been urging supporters to vote “correctly, peacefully, and hopefully”.

On the last day of campaigning, politics is the furthest thing from a lot of Nigerians’ minds. In the upmarket neighbourhood of Vic­toria Island, there are long lines outside several banks on Adeola Adeku, a major commercial road. Those in line looked weary and tired; some have been waiting for hours. Others were angry.

Outside one branch, people started shouting and jostling when the security guards asked them to step back from the gates.

“The country is in confusion,” shouted someone from a passing car.

A young man asks me if I have any cash at all as he hasn’t got money to get to work and hasn’t eaten in days.

There’s an acute cash shortage as a result of the Central Bank‘s decision to redesign the country’s currency, the naira, late last year.

People are now spending hours outside banks trying to get their hands on the newly designed cur­rency, which has been scarce. It’s hard to predict how the cash short­age will impact Saturday’s polls.

There are fears some may not have enough cash to travel back to the areas where they first registered to vote. But the anger generated by the botched new cash roll-out could also propel voters to turn up at the ballot and have their voices heard. —BBC

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