March 28, 2023

Lagos and Abuja, Nigeria – Two days after Nigerians voted within the presidential and parliamentary elections, there may be rising anxiousness over the sluggish collation of outcomes by the Unbiased Nationwide Electoral Fee (INEC).

The method entered its second day on Monday and not using a potential winner in sight as Nigerians wait with bated breath to see who succeeds President Muhammadu Buhari, whose eight-year rule on the head of Africa’s greatest democracy is ending.

There are three essential contenders within the race for the presidency: veteran politician Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) celebration; Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar from the principle opposition Individuals’s Democratic Occasion (PDP); and Peter Obi, a third-party challenger from the Labor Occasion. There’s additionally a wildcard candidate – Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Individuals’s Occasion (NNPP).

Voting on Saturday was hampered by lengthy delaysequipment failure after the introduction of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), and stories of voter suppression and violence in some elements of the nation together with Lagos, Borno and Anambra.

“I’m dissatisfied with the best way INEC has performed this election – it has been poorly performed and poorly monitored, and there are a variety of irregularities which have led to outcomes manipulation,” Oluwaseyi Elijah, a 26-year-old pupil, advised Al Jazeera within the central Nigerian metropolis of Ilorin.

“I do not be ok with the scenario and I’m scared that some persons are making an attempt to sabotage this election,” stated Elijah, who helps presidential candidate Abubakar.

Throughout social media networks, tons of of Nigerians at house and within the diaspora have expressed issues and grievances with widespread points.

Many have centered on allegations of irregularities affecting the Labor Occasion, which is favored by lots of the youth in south and central Nigeria.

Roughly 93.4 million voters registered to vote, with a 3rd of that quantity being individuals aged 18-34.

Damilare Kanyisola, a Lagos-based visible artist, had simply solid his vote in Lagos Island within the industrial capital when a bunch of males invaded the polling station to disrupt the method on Saturday.

“We had been advised that if we’re not voting for his or her candidate we must always head house or we’d be on the lookout for bother,” Kanyinsola, who voted for Peter Obi, advised Al Jazeera. “Safety operatives had been round – they didn’t do something.”

There’s at present no clear frontrunner within the election, however a number of shock outcomes have been introduced as fringe events clinched some parliamentary seats. Obi received within the presidential depend for Lagos, which has lengthy been a significant stronghold of Tinubu, a former governor of the state.

The presidential race is seen as probably the most aggressive in Nigeria’s political historical past, with Obi and Kwankwaso posing a reputable problem to the 2 conventional essential events.

Observers say the election may very well be a chance for a brand new set of leaders to emerge in Nigeria, displacing institution candidates, a few of whom have been across the political scene because the days of army rule within the Nineteen Nineties.

Nonetheless, there’s a belief deficit within the electoral system, particularly amongst younger individuals. INEC has spent greater than 300 billion naira ($652m) to conduct this yr’s election, however there have been a string of logistical errors.

In some instances, voters reported having to volunteer to maintain watch in a single day at their polling items to make sure voters may solid ballots and to watch the depend, as a result of the method began late.

On the Awada Major College within the metropolis of Onitsha within the southeastern state of Anambra, greater than a thousand individuals waited greater than six hours to be accredited and vote. Officers arrived late and couldn’t get the BVAS, which was getting used for the primary time on the nationwide degree, to work.

Hundreds of people wait for hours at Awada Primary School, Onitsha, Nigeria to vote in the presidential and parliamentary election of Saturday, February 25, 2023 [Sam-Eze Chidera/Al Jazeera]
Lots of of individuals look forward to hours at Awada Major College in Onitsha, Nigeria to vote within the presidential and parliamentary election on Saturday, February 25, 2023 [Sam-Eze Chidera/Al Jazeera]

The joint Nationwide Democratic Institute/Worldwide Republican Institute (NDI/IRI) observer mission stated “logistical failings induced late openings throughout the nation, creating tensions, and the secrecy of the poll was compromised in some polling items given overcrowding”.

The mission, led by Joyce Banda, former President of Malawi, additionally identified that “foreseeable and avoidable” challenges within the digital switch of outcomes and well timed add to INEC’s public portal “continues to undermine citizen confidence at an important second of the method”. .

Residents have been much less diplomatic.

“This isn’t what individuals anticipated,” Kanyisola stated. “INEC ready for this election for 4 years.”

For a lot of, the election is seen as a referendum on the eight years of Buhari’s presidency, which has been marked by financial decline and rising insecurity. Greater than 130 million Nigerians stay in poverty, in response to authorities statistics.

With no presidential candidate having a transparent path to victory after early outcomes, specialists consider the election is likely to be headed for a runoff.

In an effort to win within the first spherical, a candidate has to safe the biggest share of votes total and no less than 25 p.c of 24 of Nigeria’s 36 states, in addition to the Federal Capital Territory – Abuja.

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