Nigeria’s Jonathan calls for peaceful vote
“I urge you all to troop out en masse to peacefully perform your civic duty of voting for leaders of your choice tomorrow (Saturday),” he said in a televised address.
Africa’s most populous nation goes to the polls with the election being seen as the closest in its history, with Jonathan facing a strong challenge from the main opposition’s Muhammadu Buhari.
Some 1,000 people were killed in clashes after the last election in 2011 when Jonathan defeated Buhari, and there are fears of a repeat this time round.
Land and sea ports were shut at midnight on Wednesday (2300 GMT) until the end of voting and an eight-hour restriction on vehicles on the roads is being put in place from when polls open at 8:00 am on Saturday.
Nigerians have in recent days being queueing for fuel at filling stations and bulk buying water and groceries as a precaution in the event of election-linked violence.
Many offices and shops were shut on Friday or staff were sent home early.
Jonathan and Buhari on Thursday again pledged themselves to non-violence and to abide by the results.
The president on Friday called on all parties to do the same, warning citizens that “the eyes of the entire world are on us”.
“We must therefore comport ourselves in a manner that will further strengthen our democracy and consolidate our place in the comity of truly democratic nations.”
He added: “Let us go out tomorrow to vote peacefully and set a fitting example of political maturity for other emerging democracies to follow.”
The election was delayed by six weeks from February 14 on the grounds that soldiers fighting Boko Haram Islamists in the northeast would not be available to provide security nationwide.
Jonathan said in his address that troops had “successfully stemmed the seizure of Nigerian territories” and “recaptured most of the communities and territories formerly occupied by the insurgents”.