NigeriaDecides2023: Nigerians go to the polls in tense presidential election


Abuja, Nigeria

Nigerians are going to the polls for an important presidential vote that may see the nation’s subsequent chief elected. The hotly contested ballot is being held concurrently with voting for representatives for the nation’s parliament.

Polls opened in Nigeria on Saturday morning in what can be Africa’s largest democratic train.

About 93 million Nigerians in a rustic of 200 million persons are registered to vote, in response to electoral physique INEC, however solely 87 million are holders of a everlasting voter card (PVC), a principal requirement to forged a poll.

Polls on the nation’s round 140,000 polling items opened from 8:30 a.m. native time and can shut at 2:30 p.m. (or 2:30 a.m. ET Saturday to eight:30 a.m. ET). Nevertheless, voters in line to vote by closing time will nonetheless be allowed to forged their ballots, INEC said.

One polling station in Lagos delayed opening as officers have been nonetheless organising after polls have been meant to open, a CNN workforce witnessed. An official urged keen voters to be calm and “deal with one another with love” as they continued to attend.

The identical challenge dogged a number of different voting areas, together with in northern Kano State and southern Bayelsa State, with no election officers in sight at 8:30 a.m. native time, in response to Reuters. In earlier elections, voters in some areas have complained that polling stations opened hours late or didn’t materialize in any respect.

Ballots can be counted at polling locations on the shut of voting and transmitted electronically in real-time to INEC’s End result Viewing portal (IReV), a primary of its type in Nigeria, the fee tells CNN.

“With the digital transmission system (IREV), individuals will already know the winners earlier than the official announcement is made,” provides Rotimi Oyekanmi, a spokesman for INEC’s chairperson.

To win, a candidate should garner a adequate variety of ballots to satisfy the 25% vote unfold in 24 of Nigeria’s 36 states. Within the absence of this, a second spherical run-off between the highest two candidates can be held inside 21 days.

Eighteen candidates are on the poll for Nigeria’s high, however three are main the race for the favored vote, in response to pre-election surveys.

One of many key contenders is Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the candidate of term-limited President Muhammadu Buhari’s occasion, the All Progressives Congress (APC). One other is the principle opposition chief and former vice chairman Atiku Abubakar, of the Individuals’s Democratic Social gathering (PDP). And third robust contender, Peter Obi, is operating beneath the lesser identified Labour Social gathering, and altered early predictions of the presidential vote, which has usually been two-horse races between the ruling and opposition events.

Seventy-year-old Tinubu, 70, is a former governor of Nigeria’s rich Lagos State, who wields important affect within the southwestern area the place he’s acclaimed as a political godfather and kingmaker.

He boasts of aiding the election of Buhari to the presidency and declares it’s now his flip to steer the nation.

Candidate of the opposition occasion PDP Abubakar, 76, is a former Nigerian vice chairman and a staunch capitalist who made his fortune investing in varied sectors within the nation.

Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Peter Obi, and Atiku Abubakar

This is what to learn about Nigeria’s presidential election

Abubakar’s presidential bid (his sixth try) had fueled concern that it’d usurp an unofficial association to rotate the presidency between Nigeria’s northern and southern areas, since he’s from the identical northern area because the outgoing chief, Buhari.

Labor Social gathering’s Obi is a two-time former governor of southeastern Anambra State and has been touted as a reputable various to the 2 main candidates by his hordes of supporters, principally younger Nigerians who name themselves ‘Obidients.’

Obi can also be the one Christian among the many main candidates. His southeastern area has but to supply a president or vice chairman since Nigeria returned to civil rule in 1999.

Labour Party presidential candidate Peter Obi (C) talks to the media at outside a polling station in Amatutu in western Anambra State on Saturday.

The ruling occasion’s Tinubu, from the religiously combined southwestern a part of the nation, is a Muslim and in addition selected a Muslim operating mate, regardless of the nation’s unofficial custom of mixed-faith presidential tickets.

All high three candidates are assured they will flip Nigeria’s fortunes round if voted into energy, because the nation battles myriad financial and safety issues that vary from gasoline and money shortages to rising terror assaults, excessive inflation, and a plummeting native forex.

One voter, Wandu, instructed CNN’s Larry Madowo in Lagos on Saturday that crucial challenge is safety: “We’d like somebody that has a maintain and an understanding of the safety challenges that we now have. The financial system is in free fall. We’d like somebody that has a good understanding of what we have to be higher.”

A voter casts her ballot at a polling station in Amatutu in western Anambra State on Saturday.

Nigeria’s safety forces have mobilized personnel to make sure hitch-free electioneering throughout the nation.

The run-up to the polls has been fraught with violence that stemmed from protests in opposition to unpopular authorities insurance policies and deadly assaults by armed felony gangs.

On Wednesday, a senatorial candidate for the Labour Social gathering, was shot and burned in his marketing campaign car within the nation’s southeastern Enugu State, police stated.

Electoral physique INEC suspended the election in Enugu East Senatorial District following the loss of life of the candidate, it tweeted on Saturday, including that the election will now be held on March 11.

Earlier than the killing, violent protests had erupted throughout Nigerian states as residents railed in opposition to the shortage of gasoline in petrol retailers and a scarcity of money that adopted a controversial forex redesign.

INEC hasn’t been spared from the chaos; its services have been torched in parts of the country.

Voting was canceled at more than 200 planned polling units throughout Nigeria and voters redirected to different ballot areas, INEC stated, resulting from safety considerations.

Forward of the elections, nationwide police ordered a restriction of non-essential vehicular and waterway actions from midnight on election day till 6 p.m., whereas the nation’s immigration service has ordered the closure of Nigeria’s land borders from midnight Saturday till midnight Sunday.

Weeks earlier than polling day, the service had confiscated over 6000 voter playing cards from unlawful migrants, whom it stated had different nationwide paperwork of their possession.

A Department of State Services (DSS) official stands guard at a polling station in Amatutu in western Anambra State on Saturday.

INEC spokesperson Oyekanmi however insists the ballot outcomes can be free and truthful.

“The expertise Nigerians can have for the 2023 elections can be much better than earlier elections and the integrity (of the polls) can be clear for everybody to see,”Oyekanmi instructed CNN days earlier than the election.

Ultimate outcomes are anticipated to be introduced a number of days after polling.

Present President Buhari tweeted on Thursday: “There needs to be no riots or acts of violence after the announcement of the election outcomes. All grievances, private or institutional, needs to be channeled to the related Courts.”


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