- The initial results from Nigeria’s closest election since the end of military rule in 1999 are anticipated later.
Voting has been pushed back till Sunday in various parts of the nation due to major delays and a few attacks on polling places on Saturday.
In some places, voting went on all night.
In particular, among young people, who make up approximately one-third of the 87 million eligible voters, turnout seems to be strong.
As a result, it is Africa’s largest democratic exercise.
The two-party system that has ruled Nigeria for the past 24 years has faced an unprecedented threat in the election.
Potential winners include Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Peter Obi of the previously unknown Labour Party, and Atiku Abubakar of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). There are 15 other people running for president.
Long lines at the polls on Saturday, as well as sporadic claims of vote boxes being stolen and attacks by armed men, particularly in southern districts, where Mr. Obi has his strongest support, marred the election.
In the Lekki neighborhood of Nigeria’s largest city, Lagos, Dr. Nkem Okoli was ready to cast his ballot when masked thugs assaulted the polling place.
“There was utter chaos. bottles were flying everywhere “She spoke to the BBC. “[The ballot box] was broken. The authorities’ phones were taken by the thieves. We are no longer able to vote.”
At least five states had voting that started in certain locations three and a half hours after polls were scheduled to close.
One woman claimed on Twitter that she illuminated the voting and tallying process at night by using the headlights of her car.
It is unclear how many portions of the nation saw voting postponed; the southern Bayelsa state was one among those where voting was delayed till Sunday.
Harrison Rosaline was determined to participate in the poll despite the Saturday delays, according to the image’s source: OKEM MBAH/BBC
Harrison Rosaline reported that she waited five hours to cast her ballot on Saturday in Yenagoa, the county seat of Bayelsa, without encountering any election officials. She did, however, return with her two-month-old child, and she is happy to have finally cast her vote.
“I was inspired because I want to see Nigeria improve. I want my baby and everyone else in this country to be happy “She spoke to the BBC.
There is unrest in some areas of the states of Rivers and Lagos, where some political parties have urged their supporters to visit the locations where votes are being counted to guard against fraud.
The usage of the recently implemented electronic voting system has also drawn criticism, with many voters accusing election officials of failing to upload the results at the polling places as they are required to.
Results are, however, being posted outside of each polling place in those areas where voting went well.
The atmosphere at Nigeria’s elections in 60 seconds
The results will then be totalled up from tens of thousands of voting locations across the nation. The results will subsequently be announced state-by-state in the capital, Abuja, with the first announcements anticipated later on Sunday after 17:00 GMT. Each of Nigeria’s 36 states will send a representative to this event.
Final results might not be available until Wednesday or even Monday, at the earliest.
Nigeria makes a decision: Results of the election
Election information you should be aware of
Mahmood Yakubu, the director of elections, issued an apology for the delays in voting during a press conference on Saturday.
A few voting places in the northern state of Katsina and the southern state of Delta had been attacked by armed individuals, according to Mr. Yakubu, who also claimed that voter-card verification devices had been taken.
Then, he continued, they were changed out, and security was increased to permit voting.
Mr. Yakubu claimed that armed Islamists in the Borno state of northeastern Nigeria opened fire on election officials from a mountaintop in the Gwoza region, injuring a number of authorities.
Election officials inspect a ballot after the vote is tallied at a polling place during the general elections on February 25, 2023, in the Ikeja neighborhood of Lagos, Nigeria.
Picture source, EPA
Each ballot is meticulously examined.
A cash crunch brought on by a bungled currency redesign overshadowed the run-up to the election, causing widespread mayhem at banks and ATMs as desperate citizens tried to withdraw cash.
The new notes were created to combat both vote-buying and inflation. A member of the House of Representatives was detained on election night with about $500,000 (£419,000) in cash and a list of recipients, according to the police.
Regardless of who prevails, they will have to deal with a failing economy, rising youth unemployment, and pervasive insecurity that resulted in 10,000 fatalities last year.
360 members of the house of representatives and 109 federal senators were also up for election.
Who are the leading contenders?
Certain sectors of Nigeria’s youth, notably in the predominantly Christian south, fervently support Mr. Obi, 61.
Although having previously been a member of the PDP, he is regarded as a relatively new face. From 2006 to 2014, the affluent businessman presided as governor of the southeasterly Anambra State. His supporters, known as the “OBIdients,” claim he is the only candidate with integrity, while his detractors contend that supporting him would be a waste of time given the likelihood that one of the two established parties would prevail.
Peter Obi: Who is he?
The only prominent candidate from the predominantly Muslim north of the country is Mr. Abubakar, 76, of the PDP. He has previously run for president five times, losing each time. He has consistently faced allegations of cronyism and corruption, which he strongly refutes.
He has worked as a respected official, vice president, and well-known businessman, spending the majority of his career there.
Atiku Abubakar: Who is he?
The majority of people see the election as a vote against the APC, which has presided over a time of economic hardship and escalating insecurity.
In his two terms as governor from 2003 to 2007, its candidate, Mr. Tinubu, age 70, is credited with constructing Lagos.
He is regarded as a political godfather in the south-west region, where he has enormous power, but like Mr. Abubakar, he has long been the target of claims of corruption and poor health, both of which he vehemently refutes.
Bola Tinubu, who is he?
To be crowned the victor, a candidate must receive the most votes and 25% of the total ballots cast in 26 of Nigeria’s 36 states.
If not, there will be a run-off in 21 days, which is unprecedented in Nigerian history.
further reporting by BBC colleagues across the nation.
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