The campaigning has reached a high with Saturday’s presidential elections in Nigeria. Residents of Kaduna, the site where the elections will take place, have already begun preparations. Due to the past unrest after elections, the people of Kaduna are stock piling food and securing homes and shops, just in case people start to protest.
It’s always pandemonium during elections, the streets are filled with wheelbarrows and people carrying food to stash at home in preparation. “That woman is stocking up before the election in case there is trouble,” said 38-year-old Shola Oyeniyi, sitting outside the shop where she sells traditional robes. Lots of people are doing it, so that they won’t need to go out if there is any trouble,” Oyeniyi said. “People are scared. Some are leaving Kaduna to return to their home villages until it is over.”
During the last election in 2011 nearly 800 people were killed in a three day spree after ethno religious violence erupted.
The Kaduna’s southern suburbs are mainly occupied by Christians, whereas its northern parts, including the commercial center, are primarily Muslim. It is fitting for the country, whose 170 million people are split roughly between Muslims and Christians and north and south.
The two sides, divided by the Kaduna River, are united by a bridge spanning a few hundred meters. Traveling across the bridge from south to north will not be an option now, due to the authorities closing the bridge for safety reasons.
Let’s hope that the elections on Saturday will be safe …