Abuja – After a day’s delay in Africa’s most populous country, some Nigerians cast ballots with flashlights as the tally begins late Saturday, fearing their votes will be tampered with Some people were standing there.
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 not only affected voters, but also transportation for electors and security guards.
Voting ended well behind schedule in many places, but some areas were still voting as the exercises continued into the night. In northwestern Bauchi State, Lagos-based Channels TV reported voters were still using flashlights to cast their ballots around 9 p.m.
In Abuja and Delta states, voters were stuck to monitor the process and make sure the results were not tampered with.
“Sundown has come. (Now) anything can happen,” Turke Ezekiel said after the vote.
Despite fears of violence on election day, from Islamic extremists in the north to separatists in the south, Saturday’s polls were largely peaceful before a dramatic scene unfolded in the megacity of Lagos in the mid-afternoon. .
An Associated Press journalist saw armed men approach polling stations in minibuses, open fire in the air, and rob the president’s ballot box. was scattered on the floor.
And in the northeastern state of Borno, at least five people, including a child, were injured when Boko Haram militants attacked voters in the town of Gwoza, local officials said.
Mahmoud Yakub, head of Nigeria’s Electoral Commission, said national collation of the results of the presidential election will begin at noon on Sunday. The winner of the 2019 presidential election was announced four days after him on Election Day.
“We are making very steady progress and will continue to ensure that nothing undercuts our democracy or the will of the Nigerian people,” said election chief Yakubu.
But Mukhahid Durmaz, a senior analyst at global risk intelligence firm Verisk Maplecroft, said the vote was “very complicated for Nigerians.”
“There have been widespread complaints about late-arriving officials, non-functioning machinery, low presence of security guards and attacks on polling stations,” he added.
Incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari will step down after serving two four-year terms in Nigeria. In Nigeria, where he is one of the largest oil producers on the African continent, unemployment has risen to 33% of his.
Out of 18 presidential candidates, three frontrunners have emerged in recent weeks. Buhari’s ruling party candidate, main opposition candidate, and third-party challenger with strong support from younger voters.
However, it remains unclear how many voters have been deterred due to the cash crisis, in which Nigerians left funds in their bank accounts and were unable to obtain the cash they needed for things like petrol and taxis.
“Voters said the new naira policy made it very difficult for people to move to polling stations and they were also hungry. I felt like I should be there,” said Anthony Adejwon, who monitored the election in Osun state.
The vote is 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.
It also has one of the largest youth populations in the world, with a median age of just 18. About 64 million of the 210 million he is between the ages of 18 and 35.
Faber Benn, 29, who owns a food business in the capital Abuja, said he supported third-party candidate Peter Obi.
“Obi knows what Nigerians need,” she said. “He knows what’s really bothering us and I believe he knows how to deal with it.”
Buhari’s tenure was marked by concerns about his ailing health and frequent overseas travel for treatment. Two of his frontrunners are in his 70s, both of whom he has been in Nigerian politics since 1999.
By contrast, at 61, Labor’s Obi is the youngest front-runner and has surged in the polls in the weeks leading up to Saturday’s vote.
Still, Bora Tinub has strong support from the ruling All Progressive Congress party as a key supporter of the incumbent president. Known as one of Nigeria’s richest businessmen, Atiku Abubakar was the People’s Democratic Party’s vice president and presidential candidate in 2019.
For the first time this year, Nigerian election results are now being transmitted electronically to headquarters in Abuja. Officials also say they will enforce a ban on cell phones inside voting booths to prevent people from buying votes. Usually, when people receive money to choose a particular candidate, they send pictures of their votes as proof.
Since officials announced their decision in November to redesign Nigeria’s currency, the naira, circulation of new banknotes has been slow. At the same time, old banknotes became unacceptable, creating a shortage in a country where many people use cash for everyday transactions.
Durmaz said the currency change should have been rolled out over a longer timeline around the election. Waiting too long to vote “is likely to disenfranchise voters, deepen electoral disputes and provoke violence.”
“Delays associated with reports of voter suppression in Lagos threaten to exacerbate disappointment among eager voters in a highly anticipated election, sparking an outburst of violent protests in city centers.” He warned. “Given the considerable impact of ethnic and religious differences on elections in Nigeria, outbreaks of violence could rapidly embrace ethnic and religious connotations.”
Associated Press journalist Grace Ekpu in Lagos, Nigeria. Yessika Fish from Yola, Nigeria. Haruna Umar of Maiduguri, Nigeria. Dan Ippoy from Agul, Nigeria. Hilary Ugl of Asaba, Nigeria. Krista Larson, Dakar, Senegal, and Sam Mednick, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, contributed to this report.
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https://www.local10.com/business/2023/02/25/nigeria-voters-still-lining-up-after-voting-was-due-to-close/ After delay, Nigerians monitor key poll results