News, Politics

Nigeria Decides 2023 – Election Day

Michael Antonorsi


April 1, 2023

The general elections in Nigeria began yesterday, where voters will elect a new president, vice president and members of the general assembly. Nigeria’s election history has been marred with vote-buying allegations, intimidation/insecurity, and manipulation from political leaders to skew results in their favour. Yesterday’s voting process exceeded security expectations. In the run-up, there was a lot of trepidation as to whether INEC would be able to deliver a fair and open election, something they have been criticised heavily in the past for. There was heightened anxiety in the run-up to this election due to the deterioration of general security across much of Nigeria. Additionally, for the first time, there are three front-running candidates which all but ensures a runoff election, something Nigeria has never grappled with.

So far, INEC and the security apparatuses of the state were able to deliver what may become the freest election in Nigeria’s history. However, there have been flash points and malicious actors attempting to influence this highly contested election. Some level of disorderliness and hostility is unfortunately part and parcel of Nigerian politics, particularly in this race as leading candidates increasingly campaigned towards tribal identity politics. The collation of votes in the coming days will reveal the overall voter participation, a metric which has steadily declined ever since Nigeria became a democracy in 1999.

Media sources have reported an attack by a band of hoodlums on an INEC collation centre in Ejigbo, Lagos. Gunshots and intimidation caused INEC staff and security personnel to scatter. Security is of paramount importance for elections and has caused similar disruptions in other regions across Nigeria. Bayelsa state has postponed elections in 141 polling stations due to security concerns and the unwillingness of voters to return under such conditions. Yakubu, head of INEC stated, “That voting in these 141 polling units where the materials are intact, will take place tomorrow morning. Remember, we’re not only doing presidential election, but we are also doing senatorial and federal constituencies”. He further addressed concerns about the voting process in Edo State, “In Edo State, we had a situation that we handled yesterday (Friday), one of the parties whose acronym is on the score sheet but the logo is not on the ballot paper in a federal constituency,” followed by, “after meeting with the stakeholders, a decision was taken since the materials are intact. So, we have suspended the election for Esan North, Esan south and Igueben. Ballot papers will be reprinted and elections held in the following two weeks. In Ogun State, former governor Ibikunle Amosun encountered difficulties with the BVAS system while casting his vote. Once the fault was solved and he cast his vote, he said, “When I heard that BVAS is not working, I had to put a call to INEC and they have it fixed. I am not going to leave this place until many people cast their votes”.

Some polling units have tallied votes and declared victors. Labor Party presidential candidate Peter Obi won in the James Faleke unit, Campaign Secretary to APC candidate Bola Tinubu. Peter Obi also won in the polling unit of the National Chairman of the APC, Abdullahi Adamu.

INEC has so far given the monumental task of holding a general election to ensure a peaceable process that Nigerians can be proud of. Voter participation is a duty of the citizen to execute and remains to be tallied. The security services have, on the surface, performed admirably in providing an environment to conduct an orderly election.


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