Nigerians started voting on Saturday (February 25) to elect a successor to President Muhammadu Buhari, with many hoping the next leader will steer Africa's most populous nation and biggest economy on a new course after years of worsening violence and hardship, Reuters reports.
Polling stations were scheduled to open at 8:30 a.m. (0730 GMT), though Reuters staff at several locations across the country saw some that were not ready. In northern Kano State, southern Bayelsa State and the federal capital Abuja, journalists saw queues of voters with no election officials in sight.
Journalists at one location in central Lagos, another in the city of Awka, in southeastern Anambra State, and one in the northeastern city of Maiduguri saw voting begin, though at other Lagos locations there were delays.
Buhari, a retired army general, is stepping down after serving the maximum eight years allowed by the constitution but failing to deliver on his pledge to bring back order and security across Nigeria, Africa's top oil-producing nation.
The main contenders in the race to succeed Buhari are former Lagos governor Bola Tinubu, 70, of the ruling All Progressives Congress, former vice president Atiku Abubakar, 76, of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, and former Anambra State governor Peter Obi, 61, of the smaller Labour Party.
More than 93 million people are registered to vote for the next president and members of the National Assembly. Some 176,600 polling stations were scheduled to be open between 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. (0730 GMT to 1330 GMT).
Vote-counting will begin as soon as polls close and results will be posted outside polling stations. The final tally from the 36 states and federal capital Abuja is expected within five days of voting.