Polling stations have opened in Nigeria, for the presidential elections after an unexpected week-long delay. Delays have however been reported in some polling stations due to the late deployment of voting materials.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had on Friday given assurances that all materials had been deployed across the expanse of the country.
There are over 70 candidates running for the presidency, former vice president Atiku Abubakar represents the biggest threat to the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, who is seeking a second term in office.
Buhari was one of the early voters, in his hometown of Daura and Atiku Abubakar, is expected to cast his vote at a polling station in Yola, Adamawa State.
Scroll down to read about the following:
- Buhari wins in his, Atiku’s and Obasanjo’s wards
- Lagos hit by voting violence
- Anti-graft body deploys to fight vote buying
- Voting extended in areas where process started late
- Election body happy over functionality of card readers
- A three-pronged voting
- Nigeria’s presidential and legislative tenures
- Who is passed fit to vote?
- Election facts and figures
- Buhari votes, says he’ll congratulate himself
- Atiku votes, talks about ‘ successful transition
- Suspected terrorist attack in northeast with hours to opening of polls
Early days yet, Buhari makes symbolic triple wins
As results are being counted and collated in parts of the country, voting is ongoing in places where the process started late for one reason or the other.
But with results trickling in especially at the ward level, Buhari has made three significant wins. The first is winning his polling unit, which was largely expected.
The incumbent has gone to win in the unit of his main opponent Atiku Abubakar in Yola, Adamawa State and also that of former president Olusegun Obasanjo – who was a big critic in the days to the vote.
GREATEST BREAKING NEWS: President
beats his major opponent, AlhajiAtikuAbubakar in his own polling unit, 012 PU, Ajiya Ward, Yola.
= 186Atiku = 167
Glory to God Almighty!#BNMCSituationRoom #NigeriaDecides— Bashir Ahmad (@BashirAhmaad) February 23, 2019
JUST IN: Buhari wins at Obasanjo’s polling unit
APC secured 87 votes in the Presidential election
PDP got just 18 votes.
ME: Baba OBJ is overrated
NEXT……Atiku#NigeriaDecides2019 #NigeriaDecides #NextLevel— CBN Gov Akinsola Ak?? (@cbngov_akin1) February 23, 2019
Electoral violence in Lagos
Of all places, the commercial capital of Lagos has been hit by electoral violence according to reports by local portals and eye-witnesses.
The incident took place at Okota, Oshodi/Isolo Local Government Area, LGA, a video posted on Twitter showed people running away from a polling units as live rounds were being discharged.
Voting materials at a polling unit was also seen being burnt after a scattered center. Security has always been top of the agenda during the campaign and a serious concern during the polls.
Authorities assured that enough security had been deployed to quell any incidents of especially ballot snatching and other forms of infraction.
BREAKING! In Okota, Oshodi/Isolo LGA, Voters are running for their lives as shots are being fired.#PulseElections2019 #NigeriaDecides #ThisIsNigeria pic.twitter.com/0YkXV4n68t— Pulse Nigeria #NigeriaDecides (@PulseNigeria247) February 23, 2019
President Buhari had earlier this week stressed that the security forces had been given full orders to shoot at any person or group of persons who attempted to snatch ballot boxes.
The main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, called him out for the orders saying he had given “shoot to kill” orders only because he aimed to subvert the will of the people using intimidation.
Buhari’s caution was issued at a meeting of the national caucus of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, in the capital, Abuja.
EFCC deploys operatives to combat vote-trading
Nigeria’s anti-graft body, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has been busy with working to combat vote trading in the ongoing polls.
EFCC have deployed its operatives across the country to prevent vote selling and vote buying. The practice is rife in Africa’s most populous nation especially among the top parties.
The police, army and other security agencies have been deployed to undertake security tasks during the process.
Reports indicate disruption especially in the commercial capital Lagos whiles there are also places where police have succesfully arrested miscreants for electoral offences.
Officers of the EFCC on ground in Ekiti State to combat vote-buying “stomach infrastructure”. #NigeriaVoteWatch2019 #ElectionDay #ElectionDayLive pic.twitter.com/Tc3NkSYn9d— EFCC Nigeria (@officialEFCC) February 23, 2019
Headaches identified by local news portal
Despite INEC’s position that card readers have largely been effective, a local news portal, the Cable, lists their malfunctioning as one of the key headaches of the ongoing process.
It adds the late arrival of officials and voting materials in some areas plus the hijack of election materials as the two other issues.
Except for pocket of issues identified in parts of the country, voting has largely been peaceful across the wide expanse of the country. INEC has also extended voting in places where voting started late for whatever reasons.
As stipulated by law, polling units are to open at 8:00am (local time), and close at 2:00 pm. It means some areas where there were no hitches will be done voting whiles other places sill still be voting due to the extension.
As voting is ongoing around the country, here are the three main hitches thus far:
Card reader malfunction
Late arrival of materials/officials
Hijack of electoral materials#NigeriaDecides2019— TheCable (@thecableng) February 23, 2019
INEC happy about card reader success
#INEC is pleased to report that the Smart Card Reader proved its functionality and efficiency by successfully authenticating all Presidential Candidates among millions of other Voters within a short time at their respective polling units across the country.#NigeraDecides2019— INEC Nigeria (@inecnigeria) February 23, 2019
Alongside the presidency, National Assembly polls also underway
The ongoing vote is not only for presidential aspirants but also for two sets of lawmakers – the National Assembly.
Three ballot papers are given each voter, aside the presidency, voting is also taking place for the Senate and House of Representatives nationwide.
On February 16, INEC chief said: “… the Commission has decided to reschedule the Presidential and National Assembly Elections to Saturday, 23rd February 2019.
“Furthermore, the Governorship, State House of Assembly and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Area Council Elections is rescheduled to Saturday 9th March 2019,” the elections body said.
Clinching the prize
The President of Nigeria is elected using a modified two round system, to serve a four year term of office.
To win in the first round, a candidate must receive a majority of the vote and over 25% of the vote in two-thirds of the states. If no candidate meets this threshold, a second round is held, pitting the top two candidates against each other.
Members of the House of Representatives are elected to 4-year terms, concurrent with the president, using first-past-the-post voting (simple majority) in single-member constituencies.
Members of the Senate are elected to 4-year terms, concurrent with the president, from 108 single-seat constituencies into which the States are divided (three each) and one single-seat constituency consisting the Federal Capital Territory, all by first-past-the-post voting.
To vote in the forthcoming elections, one must be;
- 18 years old
- a Nigerian citizen
- a registered voter
- present a Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) at the polling station
Voting opens at at 8:00am (local time), and closes at 2:00pm
- Presidential elections are held on the 3rd Saturday in February of any general election year.
- Election of governors and members of the National Assembly are held two weeks thereafter.
- In case of the need for a second round in the presidential election, it shall be held within 21 days following the announcement of first round results.
- To contest the election outcome, a petition must be filed within 21 days after the official results were declared.
- Election tribunals including the Court of Appeal for presidential and governorship elections, shall deliver its judgment in writing within 180 days from the date of the filing of the petition.
- The courts may however adopt the practice of delivering its decision first, and defering the reasons for the verdict to a latter date.
At a glance
- 72 presidential candidates
- 360 members to be elected to House of Representatives
- 109 Senate members
- Population: 200,962,417 (2019 est.)
- Registered Voters: 84,004,084
What Buhari said after voting
“It is my constituency here, I’m pleased people are already lined up so at the same time the vote can continue, thank you very much.
(REPORTER ASKING: How do you feel yourself sir?”) Well so far, so good. Nigerians understand that they are believing themselves.(REPORTER ASKING: “Are you hopeful?”) Very hopeful indeed. (REPORTER ASKING: “If you lose will you accept defeat and congratulate the winner?) I will congratulate myself, I’m going to be the winner. Thank you very much.”
Photo credit: @BayoOmoboriowo
Incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari votes in Daura.
Running for a second term, he will be neck and neck with Atiku Abubakar, a former vice-president and candidate of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).#NigeriaDecides#NigeriaDecides2019 pic.twitter.com/ilz40w1qgO— News Central (@NewsCentralTV) February 23, 2019
Atiku expects “successful transition”
Over in the northeast, in Yola, capital of Adamawa State, his main contender and former vice-president Atiku Abubakar said he was looking forward to a successful transition after casting his ballot.
Atiku a former ally of Buhari has called on voters to repeat the 2015 feat where an incumbent was voted out. The two opponents were in the the same camp when the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, defeated the Goodluck Jonathan led government.
Atiku abandoned the APC and rejoined the now main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, under which he had served as vice-president for two terms, i.e. 1999 – 2007.
I just cast my vote at Ajiya Ward in Yola, Adamawa State. Go out and cast your vote too if you have not done so yet. -AA #NigeriaDecides2019 pic.twitter.com/TXE9oi6XU3— Atiku Abubakar (@atiku) February 23, 2019
Main opposition candidate Atiku Abubakar cast his vote in Yola, Adamawa State
‘I Look Forward To Successful Transition’ he told reporters after voting.#NigeriaDecides2019#NigeriaDecides pic.twitter.com/ygR5taTdle— africanews (@africanews) February 23, 2019
Suspected Islamists attack Nigerian town hours before poll, residents say
Suspected Islamist militants on Saturday attacked a northeastern Nigerian town, forcing people to flee hours before presidential election polls were due to open, residents said.
“We have fled, along with our wives and children and hundreds of others,” Ibrahim Gobi, who lives in the town of Geidam in Yobe state, said by telephone.
“We are right now running and hiding in the bushes.” Around the same time a Reuters witness said blasts were heard in Maiduguri, the capital of the neighbouring state of Borno.
Northeast Nigeria has been hit by the decade-long Boko Haram insurgency with attacks in recent months carried out by offshoot Islamic State in West Africa Province.