ABUJA, Nigeria – Nigeria's electoral commission announced Tuesday that presidential elections will be held in the oil-rich nation on April 9.
The vote was initially scheduled to be held in January, but it was postponed over concerns the electoral commission would not be ready and there would not be enough time to register an estimated 70 million registered voters.
Independent National Electoral Commission Chairman Attahiru Jega made announcement late Tuesday.
Nigeria, home to 150 million people, has conducted a string of criticized elections since becoming a democracy more than a decade ago.
The 2011 vote was initially scheduled to be held in January, but was postponed in part over concerns about having enough time to register an estimated 70 million registered voters.
Nigeria, one of the largest crude oil suppliers to the U.S., became a democracy through a presidential election in 1999, but its polls remained mired in vote-rigging, violence and political thuggery. International observers called the 2007 election of late President Umaru Yar'Adua rigged, even though it represented the first civilian-to-civilian transfer of power in the nation's history.
The coming presidential election puts President Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian southerner, into what could be an ethnically and religion-charged contest with the nation's largely Muslim north.