Nigeria’s presidential, parliamentary vote marked by lengthy delays

Nigeria’s presidential election has been marked by lengthy delays at some polling stations, which didn’t deter giant crowds of voters hoping for a reset after years of worsening violence and hardship beneath outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari.

Africa’s most populous nation is scuffling with insurgencies within the northeast, an epidemic of kidnappings for ransom, battle between herders and farmers, shortages of money, gas and energy, in addition to deep-rooted corruption and poverty.

In Lagos, Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) arrived at his polling centre on Saturday to solid his vote to pomp and pageantry by ready supporters at 09:00 GMT. However, the fanfare didn’t appear to be echoed by voters’ selections elsewhere in Nigeria’s industrial capital, Tinubu’s base.

The APC and outgoing president Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has been credited for the continuing money and gas disaster that has paralysed financial exercise nationwide. Voters stated they had been displaying their dissatisfaction on the polls.

“Everything that has happened in the past eight years has [been] draining for me,” Oyinkan Daramola, 29, informed Al Jazeera. She declined to reveal whom she has voted for out of fear of attainable reprisals however hinted at a disdain for the 2 dominant events. This was a standard feeling in varied areas visited by Al Jazeera throughout six native authorities areas in Lagos.

“We cannot keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” Daramola stated.

Some states had been anticipated to announce outcomes on Sunday, and the ultimate tally from all 36 states plus the federal capital Abuja was anticipated inside 5 days of voting. National Assembly seats are additionally on the poll on this election.

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As voting started to wind down in Abuja, some polling items have began sorting and counting votes in some areas of the Federal Capital Territory.

“Polling units in a number of areas closed and sorting and counting of ballot papers have commenced,” Mahmood Yakubu, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) chairman, stated in a press briefing on Saturday night.

Voting delays

In Mpape, a largely undeveloped however well-populated district inside the capital territory, a whole bunch of wearied voters had been seen ready to solid their votes.

“I’ve been here since 7am today just to vote. I came before the INEC officials even got here, and yet, I’m not ready to leave here until I have voted,” a 45-year-old college trainer, who gave her title solely as Patricia, informed Al Jazeera at approximately 3pm native time (14:00 GMT). She was certainly one of nearly 700 individuals ready to vote.

At 7pm (18:00 GMT), she was nonetheless within the queue, ready her flip.

“I had to go home to feed my family, but I am back now,” she stated. She was quantity 409 on the record of voters standing within the rain to solid their votes.

In Wuye District, a neighbourhood to the west of Abuja metropolis centre, greater than 100 individuals, the bulk younger, had been seen nonetheless ready to vote at nearly 8pm native time (19:00 GMT).

Officials from the INEC cited technical issues with a brand new biometric antifraud voter accreditation system, the late arrival of automobiles to move them, and the absence of voter registers as causes of delays.

“It is frustrating that INEC are not prepared for us. All we want is just to vote,” stated Sylvester Iwu, who was amongst a big crowd ready at a polling station in Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa State within the southern oil-producing Niger Delta.

In a televised information briefing, INEC’s Yakubu stated six biometric machines had been stolen in northern Katsina State and two in southern Delta State. He additionally acknowledged the delays however stated voters would have the ability to solid their ballots.

“The election will hold, and no one will be disenfranchised,” he stated.

Yakubu stated at a later briefing that voting would happen on Sunday in a number of wards in Yenagoa that had skilled extreme disruption on Saturday.

Morayo Ajayi, a 22-year-old undergraduate pupil in Akwa Ibom, stated she is set to vote for her candidate irrespective of how late it bought.

“I don’t care if I have to sleep here, but I’m going vote for Peter Obi today,” she stated. “Of course, I’ve been waiting for hours, but I don’t mind the wait. I will see this to the end,” she stated.

Many youths throughout Nigeria are supporting the Labour Party’s candidate Peter Obi. Still, the APC’s Bola Tinubu and Atiku Abubakar of the main opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) are broadly seen because the candidates to beat.

Interactive_Nigeria_Elections_2023_Voting At A Glance Update
(Al Jazeera)

In Elegushi, an prosperous space of Lagos, 54-year-old banker Osho Adekunle waited within the queue for 5 hours. He is voting for Tinubu due to his “antecedents” in Lagos, a fulcrum on which Tinubu’s supporters primarily based his marketing campaign.

For Adekunle, the 1993 annulled election, which noticed Moshood Abiola, a Yoruba like himself and Tinubu, being denied his mandate, impressed his selections there.

“We that know about the history are not voting on sentiment but on practicality,” he stated.

Voter frustration

There had been stories of scattered violent incidents on Saturday, although not on the size seen in earlier elections within the nation of greater than 200 million individuals.

Buhari, a retired military basic, is stepping down after serving the utmost eight years allowed by the structure however failing to ship on his pledge to carry again order and safety throughout Nigeria, Africa’s prime oil-producing nation.

The contest to succeed him is vast open, with candidates from the 2 events alternating in energy because the finish of military rule in 1999 dealing with an unusually sturdy problem from a minor get together candidate well-liked amongst younger voters.

An Official Holds Up A Ballot Paper With Two Other Election Workers At His Side.
An INEC official holds up a poll paper in the course of the counting course of at a polling station in Egbeda, Lagos, throughout Nigeria’s presidential and basic election [Benson Ibeabuchi/AFP]

In northeast Borno State, suspected fighters from the Boko Haram group fired mortar shells within the rural Gwoza space, killing one baby, wounding 4 others and disrupting voting, military sources stated.

In Abuja, a crew from the anticorruption Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was attacked by thugs simply after arresting a person on suspicion of paying for a bunch of individuals’s votes utilizing a banking app, the fee stated.

In most areas, nonetheless, the day appeared to have unfolded peacefully regardless of frustrations over the delays.

In Aguolu, Obi’s hometown in his native Anambra, voting went easily. EFCC officers stopped by to watch voting there for any attainable inducement of voters.

Across components of Onitsha, Anambra’s industrial capital, and parts of close by Asaba, the executive capital of Delta state within the Niger Delta area, many young and old individuals stated they had been voting for Obi.

This, regardless of Delta state Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, an Igbo, being deputy governor on the PDP’s ticket alongside Atiku Abubakar, whom Obi ran with in 2019.

“That’s not my problem, ” Emmanuel Edozie-Uno, a 23-year-old pupil voting for Obi in Asaba, informed Al Jazeera. “I voted for Obi.”

(Additional reporting by Ruth Olurounbi, Ope Adetayo, and Eromo Egbejule)

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