By Harrison Arubu
Polling stations have opened across Liberia as the nation elects its next president and 73 members of the House of Representatives.
This is the first transition election in Liberia in 70 years.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) team covering the election in Monrovia, the nation’s capital, reports that the elections began on a peaceful note, with electoral officials and materials arriving on time at the polling stations visited.
Voter turnout is impressive, judging by long queues that stretched several metres away from the voting points while accreditation and voting are going side by side.
Some of the voters interviewed said they had been on queue since 5:30 a.m. to ensure they vote early and security presence is light; the voters are orderly and waited patiently.
Traffic was light even though no restriction to movement of vehicles.
People closed shops and deserted markets in the early part of the day so as to partake in the elections.
Live updates by radio stations being monitored by NAN tells a similar story in some other parts of the country, except for complaints of late arrival of materials in some areas where voting would take place.
The incumbent President, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is serving out her last tenure of six years in office and would step down after the emergence of a new president from the polls.
20 candidates are locking horns to succeed her including incumbent Vice President Joseph Boakai; football icon, George Weah; prominent businessman, Mr Alexander Cummings and veteran opposition figure, Mr Charles Brumskine.
Also in the race is Prince Johnson, a former warlord and key player in the first Liberian Civil War between 1989 and 1997.
Ms MacDella Cooper, a philanthropist devoted to improving the lives of children and women in Liberia, is the only female in the presidential race. (NAN)