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Electoral campaign posters are seen ahead of Nigeria's Presidential elections, in Yola, Nigeria, February 23, 2023.

REUTERS/Esa Alexander

What We're Watching: Nigerians vote, Biden's World Bank pick

Nigeria's presidential election head-scratcher

Nigerians go to the polls Saturday to vote in what is being billed as the most open presidential election in Africa's most populous country since democracy was restored in 1999. That's mostly thanks to buzz about Peter Obi, a third-party candidate who's leading most polls ahead of both Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the ruling party's pick, and opposition candidate Atiku Abubakar. With almost half the electorate undecided, Obi faces tough odds. First, to win outright, he must get the most votes nationwide and at least 25% in at least two-thirds of Nigeria's 36 states – but he doesn’t have strong party machinery to turn out voters. Second, if no candidate meets both conditions, the election goes to a runoff between the most-voted for candidate and — here's where it gets complicated — the one who placed second in the highest number of states. Also, keep an eye out for the rollout of machines to verify biometric voter ID to curb fraud. If the devices malfunction or are not widely deployed, expect many Nigerians to consider the election anything but free and fair.

Interested in the Nigerian election? Listen to Amaka Anku, head of Eurasia Group’s Africa practice, on this GZERO podcast in collaboration with The Center for Global Development podcast.

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Ukrainian forces fire howitzers at Russian positions near Makariv.

REUTERS/Maksim Levin

Watching the war in Ukraine

President Vladimir Putin said Sunday that Moscow will halt its military operation only "if Kyiv stops military operations and carries out well-known Russian demands." This is the same leader whose side twice agreed to and then violated a deal to evacuate civilians from the besieged city of Mariupol. On Monday, Russia said it would offer safe paths out of Kyiv, Mariupol, Kharkiv and Sumy, but some of the routes entail passage to Russia or Belarus, which Ukraine has called "immoral."

Ukraine says more than 11,000 Russian soldiers have been killed since the invasion began, more than 20 times Moscow’s only official death toll released to date. Roughly 1.5 million Ukrainians have already fled to neighboring European countries, raising the stakes for a common EU response to a refugee crisis that will surely worsen.

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