And President Barack Obama has urged Nigerians to keep this country united – whatever the outcome of the elections.
But the United States seems to have gone a step further by sending hundreds of marines to neighbouring Ghana.
An Aviation source in Accra, the Ghanaian capital, told The Nation that two Hercules C-130 transport planes landed at the Kotoka Airport last week, bearing “at leat three helicopters”.
“There are well over 200 marines,” the source, who pleaded not to be named because of what he described as the sensitivity of the matter, said.
“They are camped at the airport,” he added.
The helicopters are belived to be meant for the quick evacuation of Americans in Nigeria – in the event of violence.
It was not immediately clear yesterday where the marines and equipment may have been moved from. The United States has military bases in Europe.
The source also said two United States Navy ships had been sighted off the coast of Takoradi, Ghana.
A Ghana Defence source said one of the ships is equipped with medical facilities.
“More marines are expected,” he said, also pleading not to be named because, according to him, he is not allowed to talk to the media.
“It is not unusual for the United States or any other country to do this because they have to protect their people,” the source said.
Ghanaians have noticed the presence of the marines. The popular thinking is that they are in the country to train the military.
“Their mission is to move into Nigeria swiftly, should there be any need to do so,” the source said.
President Goodluck Jonathan, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), his main challenger, All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, have signed a peace accord in Abuja, pledging to maintain peace before, during and after the elections.
The United States is said to have had an intelligence report that the election could turn bloody, if the result does not favour the ruling party.
Leaders of the PDP and the APC are belived to be willing to accept the result, but “there are fears that should the polls be rigged, the citizenry may reject the results,” a source said.