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Nigeria polls open

5:51am EDT - 00:45

Polls open in Nigerian presidential elections many voters fear could end in violence. Rough cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION Nigerians began voting on Saturday (March 28), in what looks set to be the first genuine electoral contest since the end of military rule in 1999, one in which an opposition aspirant has a fighting chance of unseating the incumbent, President Goodluck Jonathan. Seeking a second elected term, Jonathan is facing off against former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari in a tense race with an electorate divided along ethnic, regional and in some cases religious lines. Twelve other minor candidates are also running. Polls were due to open across 119,973 polling stations at 8 a.m. (0700 GMT) for accreditation, with actual voting due to begin at 1.30 p.m. and continue until the last person has voted. With 56.7 million eligible voters, it could drag well into Sunday (March 29). In the northern city of Kano registration started on time but elsewhere voters had to wait in the rising tropical heat as election officials failed to turn up. The start was also delayed in at least three polling stations in the southern city of Lagos. The vote is seen as a referendum on the record of Jonathan, a former zoology professor whose time in office has been blighted by massive corruption scandals and an insurgency by Islamist Boko Haram militants in which thousands have died. A credible and peaceful poll would open a new chapter in the history of Africa's most populous nation, biggest economy and top oil producer, whose five decades of independence have been tarnished by graft, military coups and secessionist movements.

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Nigeria polls open

5:51am EDT - 00:45