Nigerians anxiously await as election results collation continues | Election News


Verification of the election results, which observers and voters said had many logistical challenges, is still underway.

Lagos and Abuja, Nigeria – Two days after Nigerians voted in presidential and parliamentary elections, fears are mounting over slow collation of results by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The process entered its second day on Monday as Nigerians await with bated breath the successor to President Mohammed Buhari, the head of Africa’s largest democracy.

3 top candidates for president: veteran politicians Bora Tinub ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) party; former Vice President Atiku Abubakar From the largest opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP).and peter obi, a third-party challenger from the Labor Party. There is also a wildcard candidate – Rabiu Kwankwaso New Nigerian People’s Party (NNPP).

Saturday’s vote long delayequipment failures after the introduction of the Bimodal Voter Recognition System (BVAS), and reports of voter suppression and violence in parts of the country, including Lagos, Borno and Anambra.

“I am disappointed with the way INEC conducted this election. It was poorly enforced, poorly monitored, and there are many frauds that lead to manipulation of the results,” Oluwasay I Elijah, a 26-year-old student, told Al. Told. Jazeera in Ilorin, a city in central Nigeria.

Elijah, who supports presidential candidate Abubakar, said he was “not happy with the situation and worried that some people are trying to sabotage this election.”

Across social media networks, hundreds of Nigerians at home and in the diaspora have voiced their concerns and frustrations on a wide range of issues.

People gather around a newsstand in the Ikeja district of Lagos on February 27, 2023, and glance at a daily newspaper as the country awaits the results of the presidential election. [Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP]

Many have focused on allegations of wrongdoing affecting the Labor Party, which is supported by many young people in southern and central Nigeria.

About 93.4 million voters are registered to vote, a third of whom are between the ages of 18 and 34.

Lagos-based visual artist Damilare Kanisola held a poll in the commercial capital of Lagos when a group of men broke into the polling place on Saturday, disrupting the process.

“They told me that if I didn’t vote for their candidate, I should go home or I would be looking for trouble,” Caninsola said. peter obitold Al Jazeera. “The security forces were there and they weren’t doing anything.”

There is currently no clear frontrunner in the election, but some surprising results have been announced as peripheral parties have won seats. obi won At the presidential palace in Lagos, which was the main stronghold of Tinub, the state’s former governor.

The presidential election is considered the most competitive in Nigeria’s political history, with Obi and Kwankwaso posing a credible challenge to two traditional major parties.

Observers say the election could be an opportunity for a new leader to emerge in Nigeria, ousting an incumbent candidate who has been on the political stage since the military era in the 1990s.

But there is a lack of trust in the electoral system, especially among young people. INEC has spent more than 300 billion Naira ($652 million) to conduct this year’s elections, but there have been a series of logistical errors.

In some cases, voters reported that due to the delay in starting the process, they had to volunteer to watch overnight at their polling stations to allow voters to cast their ballots and to monitor the polling numbers.

More than 1,000 people waited over six hours for certification and voting at Awada Primary School in the southeastern Anambra state of Onitsha. Officials arrived late and were unable to get his BVAS used for the first time at the national level to work.

Hundreds of people wait for hours to vote in presidential and parliamentary elections at Awada Primary School in Onitsha, Nigeria, Saturday, February 25, 2023. [Sam-Eze Chidera/Al Jazeera]

The Joint National Institute for Democracy/International Republican Institute (NDI/IRI) Observer Mission stated that “logistical failures delayed the start, created tensions across the country, and undermined voting secrecy in overcrowded voting units.” said.

The mission, led by former Malawi President Joyce Banda, said that “foreseeable and avoidable” challenges in the electronic transfer of results and timely upload to INEC’s public portal “continue to undermine public confidence at key moments in the process.” There are,” he pointed out.

Citizens were not very diplomatic.

“This is not what people expected,” Kanisola said. “INEC said he prepared for this election for four years.”

A presiding officer counts records in the Ikorodu local government area during the collation of presidential election results at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) headquarters in Yaba, a suburb of Lagos, Nigeria, February 26, 2023. [Benson Ibeabuchi / AFP]

For many, the election is seen as an eight-year referendum for President Buhari, marked by a declining economy and growing instability. More than 130 million Nigerians live in poverty, according to government statistics.

With no presidential candidate showing a clear path to victory after early results, experts believe the election may be headed for a runoff.

To win the first round, a candidate must secure the maximum share of the vote overall, including at least 25% of 24 of Nigeria’s 36 states and Abuja, the federal capital.

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