Voting continues in Nigeria, a day after polls due to close
Abuja, Nigeria –
People were still voting across Nigeria on Sunday morning, the day after Africa’s most populous country was supposed to complete presidential and parliamentary elections.
Polling has taken place in the states of Benue, Adamawa and Bayelsa, where ballots have been completed and votes are being tallied, with preliminary results expected on Sunday night, election observers said.
Logistics and security issues caused widespread delays across the country on Saturday, sparking discontent among voters. Some voters waited all night and didn’t cast their ballot by the next morning.
“No sacrifice is too great to choose the trusted leader of your choice,” said Glory Edwer, who stood in line all night to vote in Delta.
Election officials blamed the delay on logistical problems, but other observers pointed to the confusion caused by the redesigned currency, leaving many unable to get their hands on the banknotes. Cash shortages have affected the movement of voters as well as electors and security guards.
Saturday’s election was largely peaceful, but observers said there were at least 135 serious incidents, including ballot snatching that invalidated those votes and undermined the country’s democratic legitimacy. It contains eight undermining reports, said Yaga Africa, the country’s largest election watchdog. The challenge likely also led to lower voter turnout, the group said.
“It is unacceptable that Nigerians, who have a constitutional right to participate in elections, go out to vote and have thugs making it difficult for them,” said Samson Itodo, head of the organization. . “The country really needs to stand up and condemn these acts of voter suppression that we observed yesterday,” he said.
On Saturday, an Associated Press journalist saw armed men pull over a minibus polling station, open fire in the air, and rob the president’s ballot box. were scattered on the floor.
In the capital Abuja, some voters said they were barred from voting at all.
“They employed a variety of strategies to keep us from continuing to vote,” said Emmanuel Ogbu. , were told by election officials that they did not have enough materials, such as ink, and had to wait for their supervisor, who had not yet arrived.
This year’s vote will be closely watched as Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy. The United Nations predicts that by 2050 Nigeria will become her third most populous country in the world after India and China.
Incumbent President Muhammad Buhari will step down after serving two four-year terms. His tenure was marked by concern over his ailing health and frequent international travel for treatment. Out of 18 presidential candidates, three of his frontrunners have emerged in recent weeks. Buhari’s ruling party candidate, main opposition candidate, and third-party challenger with strong support from younger voters.
Many issues need to be considered as the vote continues, conflict analysts say. Authorities must ensure adequate security at polling stations that are still in operation, monitor voter fraud and manipulation, and control misinformation, said the Lake Chad Basin team at the Institute for Security Studies. said Dr. Akinora Oroho, his manager at the project.
“[These]caveats are critical to a successful conclusion to what can be considered the most tense election in Nigeria’s recent history. With just over 10,000 deaths, it is critical that Nigeria avoids such a situation, ensuring that the voice of the people is ensured through the current elections.”
Contributed by Associated Press reporter Taiwo Ajayi from Abuja, Nigeria and Sam Mednick from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.