Nigeria's presidential elections are scheduled for April 9, 2011. I've had several people ask me my opinion about the election, but I hadn't been keeping up, so I did a little research and this is what I came up with:
The frontrunner seems to be Goodluck Jonathan, the current president and PDP candidate. The PDP has held the presidency since democracy was reintroduced to Nigeria in 1999, although these each of these elections have been marred by violence and fraud. The PDP has a "gentleman's agreement" that the presidency will be rotated between the North and South. Obasanjo, president for 1999-2007, is Yoruba, from the Southwest part of the country. Obasanjo's vice-president, Atiku Abubakar, is a northerner (and former supporter of bad guy Sani Abacha, who imprisoned Obasanjo) that planned to succeed Obasanjo, but then clashed with him when Obasanjo tried to change the constitution for a third term. So Obasanjo handpicked a different northerner to succeed him, and thanks to Obasanjo's support, Yar'Adua won, but then he got sick and died before he finished his term and Vice President Goodluck Jonathan (he of the cool name and cool hat) became acting president in February 2010 (when Yar'Adua was sick) and president when Yar'Adua died in May 2010. Jonathan has a PhD in zoology, entered politics in 1998, and has never been elected to office. His parents chose his name Goodluck well because his rise is due in large part to being in the right place at the right time:
When the Bayelsa state governor was arrested on money-laundering charges in 2005, Mr Jonathan, then deputy governor, found himself at the helm. On February 10th (2010, as acting president while Yar'Adua was sick), chairing his first cabinet meeting, he had the confidence to reshuffle some of the ministers known to be allies of Mr Yar’Adua.Jonathan is from the Southeast part of the country (and, given the brim on his hat, it goes without saying that he's not Muslim), so a Southerner got to be president before the Northerners got to finish their turn. So there was speculation when he took office that he would just keep the seat warm until the end of the term, and then let a Northerner candidate run for the PDP. There was speculation that Babangida (IBB), a Northerner, would run on top of the PDP ticket and Jonathan would run as vice president, so that the rotation could be restored to order. Babangida was a military head of state from 1985-1993. He allowed for democratic elections to take place in 1993, but then didn't allow the winner to take office. In response to massive strikes and protests as a result, he then gave up office to an interim government that was soon after overthrown by bad guy Sani Abacha.
In September 2010, Jonathan announced on Facebook that he would run to be the PDP candidate for president. One of his themes is the promotion of rule of law and rooting out of corruption, but it's not clear how successful he has been in these efforts. "His current campaign is centred on providing good governance, power and energy, food, education, health, land and transport, unemployment, security and the Niger-delta."