Jonathan promises free, fair Nigerian poll in 2015

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday assured the international community that his government will stage free and credible elections next year, a statement said.

AFP| Last Updated: Oct 03, 2014, 00:32 AM IST

Abuja: Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday assured the international community that his government will stage free and credible elections next year, a statement said.

"We received international commendations for the conduct of the 2011 general elections and I can assure you that the 2015 general elections will be even better," his office quoted him as saying.

Jonathan made the comments while receiving four ambassadors newly appointed to Nigeria.

But it came as Boko Haram's leader Abubakar Shekau released a new video denying military claims of his death which also depicted scenes of graphic violence, including an amputation, a stoning to death and a beheading.

The Islamist rebels are believed to be in control of more than two dozen towns in three states in the northeast, which have been under a state of emergency since May last year.

If the dire security crisis in the northeast does not improve, experts doubt that Nigeria will be able to organise voting there on the February 14 polling day.

Excluding an entire region -- and one likely to vote against Jonathan -- could raise questions about the credibility of the poll.

In addition, Nigeria has a checkered history of electoral performance, with many votes marred by malpractice, violence and military interference.

More than 800 people, mostly supporters of the opposition, died in violence following the 2011 vote.

Jonathan is expected to formally declare his re-election bid in the coming months.