Nigeria's President and candidate for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Goodluck Jonathan speaks with a campaign aide during a rally in Kano, Northern Nigeria, on January 21, 2015 . The February 14 vote is expected to be close-run, with the possibil ~ AMINU ABUBAKAR
Abuja - About 82 percent of Nigerian voters have collected the cards they need to present at polling stations to take part in Saturday's presidential election, officials said on Tuesday.
The tight contest between President Goodluck Jonathan and former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari was meant to take place on Feb. 14 but was delayed by six weeks because the military said it could not guarantee security, especially in the northeast, where Islamists have waged a six-year insurgency.
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Since then, a concerted push against the Boko Haram militants, especially by neighbours Chad and Niger, has pushed them out of much of the territory they controlled.
There had been fears that millions of Nigerians in areas affected by the insurgency, including a million internal refugees, would be unable to vote.
"Wherever it is safe and people have resumed normal life, we will conduct elections," election commission head Attahiru Jega said. "We've also got arrangements to conduct elections for internally displaced persons. We have designated centres where IDPs will be able to vote."
The commission said about 56.7 million voter cards had been collected. Jega said distribution had now ceased, apart from a handful of cards that had just been produced and would be handed out in the next few days.
Jonathan is seeking a second elected term, in the closest-fought election since the end of military rule in 1999.