April 2, 2023

Nigeria’s presidential election has been marked by lengthy delays at some polling stations, which didn’t deter massive crowds of voters hoping for a reset after years of worsening violence and hardship below 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, gasoline 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 middle on Saturday to solid his vote with pomp and pageantry by ready supporters at 09:00 GMT. Nevertheless, the fanfare didn’t appear to be echoed by voters’ decisions elsewhere in Nigeria’s business capital, Tinubu’s base.

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

“Every little thing that has occurred up to now eight years has [been] draining for me,” Oyinkan Daramola, 29, instructed Al Jazeera. She declined to disclose whom she has voted for out of worry of attainable reprisals however hinted at a disdain for the 2 dominant events. This was a standard feeling in numerous places visited by Al Jazeera throughout six native authorities areas in Lagos.

“We can’t hold doing the identical factor time and again and anticipating completely different outcomes,” Daramola mentioned.

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. Nationwide Meeting seats are additionally on the poll on this election.

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

“Polling models in numerous areas closed and sorting and counting of poll papers have commenced,” Mahmood Yakubu, Unbiased Nationwide Electoral Fee (INEC) chairman, mentioned in a press briefing on Saturday night.

Voting delays

In Mpape, a largely undeveloped however well-populated district throughout the capital territory, tons of of anxious voters had been seen ready to solid their votes.

“I have been right here since 7am at the moment simply to vote. I got here earlier than the INEC officers even obtained right here, and but, I am not prepared to depart right here till I’ve voted,” a 45-year-old college trainer, who gave her title solely as Patricia, instructed Al Jazeera at roughly 3pm native time (14:00 GMT). She was certainly one of almost 700 individuals ready to vote.

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

“I needed to go dwelling to feed my household, however I’m again now,” she mentioned. She was quantity 409 on the checklist of voters standing within the rain to solid their votes.

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

Officers 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’s irritating that INEC usually are not ready for us. All we wish is simply to vote,” mentioned 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 mentioned six biometric machines had been stolen in northern Katsina State and two in southern Delta State. He additionally acknowledged the delays however mentioned voters would be capable of solid their ballots.

“The election will maintain, and nobody will likely be disenfranchised,” he mentioned.

Yakubu mentioned 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 scholar in Akwa Ibom, mentioned she is decided to vote for her candidate irrespective of how late she obtained it.

“I do not care if I’ve to sleep right here, however I’ll vote for Peter Obi at the moment,” she mentioned. “After all, I have been ready for hours, however I do not thoughts the wait. I’ll see this until the top,” she mentioned.

Many youths throughout Nigeria are supporting the Labor Social gathering’s candidate Peter Obi. Nonetheless, the APC’s Bola Tinubu and Atiku Abubakar of the main opposition Individuals’s Democratic Social gathering (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’s 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 decisions there.

“We that know concerning the historical past usually are not voting on sentiment however on practicality,” he mentioned.

Voter frustration

There have 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 normal, is stepping down after serving the utmost eight years allowed by the structure however failing to ship on his pledge to deliver again order and safety throughout Nigeria, Africa’s prime oil-producing nation.

The competition to succeed him is extensive open, with candidates from the 2 events alternating in energy for the reason that finish of military rule in 1999 dealing with an unusually sturdy problem from a minor occasion candidate common 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 normal 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 youngster, wounding 4 others and disrupting voting, military sources mentioned.

In Abuja, a workforce from the anticorruption Financial and Monetary Crimes Fee (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 mentioned.

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.

Throughout components of Onitsha, Anambra’s business capital, and parts of close by Asaba, the executive capital of Delta state within the Niger Delta area, many young and old individuals mentioned 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 is not my drawback,” Emmanuel Edozie-Uno, a 23-year-old scholar voting for Obi in Asaba, instructed Al Jazeera. “I voted for Obi.”

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

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