The anger in Lagos is palpable.
Nigeria’s economic capital has been buckling under the strain of a cash shortage, fuel scarcity and soaring food prices.
Today, Lagosians have one more thing to be mad about.
As the city’s residents lined up to cast their ballots to vote in the most consequential election in Nigeria’s history. many polling units arrived late.
At a voting station in Alausa, Ikeja, polling could not officially begin until 10.07am – more than an hour and a half behind the 8.30am scheduled start time.
Throughout the day, reports surfaced of angry crowds protesting against unexplained delays at polling units across the country. In one video, “let us vote” was chanted with fervour.
In Nigeria’s last election in 2019, the country only had 35.66% voter turnout – topping charts of voter apathy worldwide.
The vocalised frustration of Nigerians adamant to cast their ballot speaks to the current yearning for new leadership.
Incumbent President Mohammadu Buhari is finishing his second and final term.
The eight years of his presidency have been marked by economic downturn, soaring unemployment and widespread insecurity.
“This election is big for Nigeria because there is so much hope for change – the stakes are really very high,” says Lagos businesswoman Philomena Osho as she stood in line to vote in Adekunle-Yaba.
“We know that the last eight years have not been the best. It could have been a lot better – our fortune went down,” she adds.
Further up the line at Philomena’s polling station, a man proudly casts his ballot. He turns to us and makes the point we have been hearing all day – how momentous this election is for Nigerians.
“The future of Nigeria is at stake, we have got to get it right this time. We have had so many years of blunders I would say – hopefully, this time we get it right,” says IT consultant Adebayo.
Across the street, two young men watch the queue as they blast electro music through portable speakers.
Their stained fingertips tell us that they have already voted but they don’t seem to be going anywhere.
“I’ve been here since 8am and I’m going to be here until they announce the results,” says 21-year-old photographer Bishop Duke.
He does not trust that the votes won’t be tampered with if he heads back home and plans to hang around until the election comes to a close.
“I want to watch so that I know my vote counts – I want to see my vote count.”