Party supporters raise flags in support of Nigerian President and Presidential candidate of the ruling People's Democratic Party Goodluck Jonathan and Vice President Namadi Sambo during a rally in Lagos on January 8, 2015. Nigeria's President Goodluc ~ PIUS UTOMI EKPEI
New York - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday called for transparent and peaceful elections in Nigeria on the eve of the vote that will be closely-watched by world governments.
"The international community has high expectations that Nigeria will provide leadership in setting a high standard for this election," Ban said in a statement.
The UN chief called on Nigerians to vote in large numbers and voiced hope that the presidential and parliamentary elections will be "transparent, inclusive and peaceful".
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Nigerians head to the polls on Saturday in one of the closest races in the country's history, pitting President Goodluck Jonathan against former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari.
Nigeria has a history of election violence and both candidates have appealed for calm to prevent a repeat of 2011, when 1 000 people were killed in clashes after the results were announced.
Ban called on the candidates and their supporters to "resolve disputes that may arise from the electoral process through peaceful means."
The elections will be closely watched at the United Nations and in world capitals, which are increasingly alarmed by the rise of Boko Haram.
The extremists have recently pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group and extended their campaign of terror to countries in the region.
The UN Security Council, which has branded Boko Haram a terror group, is due to discuss the threat from the Islamist fighters at a meeting on Monday
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