The official campaign opens on 16 Nov 2014 for Nigeria's presidential and parliamentary election in Feb 2015, but the volatility that precedes elections in the major oil producer will begin much earlier.
President Goodluck Jonathan could dial down the tension if he honors a pre-existing agreement to allow a candidate from the mainly-Islamic north a turn at the presidency, but the signs point to him seeking another four-year term. His Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will dial up the tension if it insists on clinging to power at any cost. It has lost its majority in the House of Representatives because of a spate of protest defections to the All Progressive Congress (APC), a coalition of four opposition parties. The campaign is likely to bring secessionist and dissident groups out onto the streets, with Boko Haram Islamic militants leading any violence. The president called a conference on national unity and continuity for Mar 2014, and it could ease tensions if it results in reforms that accommodate the aspirations of the country's disparate population and regions.
Date written/update: 2014-03-05