Nigerians voted for new president, endured long delays in hopes of bringing change

  • Nigeria holds presidential and parliamentary elections
  • Buhari succession battle seen as open
  • Measures to reduce the risk of fraud
  • Scattered reports of violence

KANO, Nigeria (Reuters) – Government officials counted the votes in the Nigerian elections on Wednesday. People want a reset, with no delays at some polling stations, despite years of worsening violence and hardship under outgoing President Muhammad Buhari.

The Electoral Commission said official results can be expected later on Sunday. By evening, ballots were already being counted at some polling stations, while voting was still taking place at others, and not at others.

Some votes were due to take place on Sunday.

Whoever wins will face many dangers. Africa’s most populous country is plagued by Muslim riots in the northeast, rampant kidnapping for ransom, conflicts between nomads and farmers, shortages of cash, fuel and electricity, deep-seated corruption and poverty. increase.

Reuters reporters across the country noted that some polling stations were closed at the scheduled time of 2:30 p.m. (1330 GMT), while others were still open.

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“I’m waiting here to vote. said he hadn’t.

Some states were due to announce their results on Sunday, and the final tally from all 36 states and the federal capital Abuja was expected to come within five days of the vote.

Although not on the scale seen in previous elections in the country of more than 200 million people, Saturday was littered with violence.

Retired army general Buhari, who is resigning after serving the maximum eight years allowed by the constitution, has failed to deliver on his promise to restore order and security across Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer.

Candidates from two parties that have alternated in power since the end of military rule in 1999 face an unusually strong challenge from candidates from minor parties popular among younger voters.

Officials at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) attributed the delay to technical problems with the new biometric fraud-proof voter certification system, delays in the arrival of vehicles to transport them, and the absence of voter registers. I mentioned.

“I am frustrated that INEC is not ready for us. All we want is to vote” Niger Delta.

In a televised news briefing, INEC Chairman Mahmoud Yakub said six biometric devices had been stolen in northern Katsina state and two in southern Delta state. He also acknowledged the delay, but said voters would be able to vote.

“Elections will be held and no one will be disenfranchised,” he said.

In a subsequent briefing, Yakub said votes would be held on Sunday in several boroughs of Yenagoa that experienced severe disruption on Saturday.

Scattered Violence

In northeastern Borno state, the epicenter of Islamist insurgency, suspected fighters from the Boko Haram group fired mortar shells in the rural area of ​​Gwoza, killing one child and injuring four others. and the vote was blocked, military sources said.

In Abuja, a team of the Anti-Corruption Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was attacked by thugs shortly after arresting a man on suspicion of using a banking app to pay for people’s votes, the EFCC said. Stated.

In Lagos, a Reuters TV crew watched police arrest four men on suspicion of intimidating voters. Meanwhile, election observers from local civil society groups said they saw thugs armed with knives, chains and bottles destroying ballot boxes.

In most areas, however, the day appeared to have unfolded peacefully despite complaints about delays.

The main candidates for Buhari’s succession are former Lagos governor Bora Tinub, 70, of the ruling All Progressive Congress, former vice-president of the main opposition People’s Democratic Party Atiku Abu Bakar, 76, and former Anambra governor Peter Obi, 61. Smaller Labor Party.

All three voted in their respective states, surrounded by a chaotic scrum of reporters and supporters.

“The electoral process cannot achieve 100% perfection,” Tinub told reporters after the vote. “People have to accept it. They have to accept the consequences.”

Tinub and attic, as he is known in Nigeria, are both political heavyweights with decades-long networks. Both Muslims, Tinub is Yoruba from the southwest and Atiku is a Fulani from the northeast.

bandis a Christian of the Igbo ethnic group, and although he doesn’t have much of a political machine, he uses sophisticated social media campaigns to generate huge profits. Young Voter Enthusiasmsome even call themselves “obedient”.

INEC says its new Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), which uses biometric data to identify voters, will help prevent fraud. A Reuters reporter in some regions said authorities were having trouble getting his BVAS devices working, while in others the systems were working smoothly.

Despite INEC’s precautionary measures, analysts warn there is still a risk that underfunded citizens may be vulnerable to vote-buying attempts by candidates.

Ahmed Kingimi and Lanle Ora of Maiduguri, Tife Oworabi of Yenagoa, Abraham Aqilgah of Kano, Galba Muhammad of Kaduna, Temilade Adelaja and Sun Sanni of Agul, Macdonald Zirtuwe of Lagos, Tim Cox, Vining Additional reporting by Og, James Ortway and Camillus Evo, by Edwin Waita and Felix Onua of Abuja, Anamasele Iboereteonwu of Onitha Written by Estelle Silbon Edited by Francis Kelly and Andrew Havens

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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