News, Politics

Nigeria Decides – Day Two

Michael Antonorsi


April 1, 2023

The political situation in Nigeria has gathered pace as the collation of votes across polling stations begins. The political climate continues to grow contentious as publications determine victors of certain polling stations and unearth the shadowy elements that encumber Nigerian politics. Corruption and violence have become imbedded in political campaigns, exacerbated by low voter turnout. Voter turnout has declined in every general election since Nigeria re-established its democracy in 1999. Low voter turnout provides fertile ground for under-the-table deals as it increases the possibility of speculation. It may also destabilise the election process as voters who, at the time, did not exercise their civic duty protest the results.

So far, only one state has announced results for the presidential election, Ekiti State, where Tinubu has been declared victor. Due to security concerns and delays of election materials, the voting process has been extended. Results are not to be announce until tomorrow, the 27th at the earliest. Results may not be fully announced until Wednesday. Intimidation tactics have been reported across many different polling stations where its been observed that ‘gangs’ with machetes, or more organised tactics such as groups of heavily armed hoodlums, have been deployed to disrupt the electoral process. 

Dr. Lawrence of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Cross River State chapter, has called for the cancellation and renewal of voting due to security concerns. He stated, “Other areas where elections should be cancelled and repeated should include polling units or states where ballot papers did not contain the logo of some political parties. Doing this will avoid possible protests from those who feel disenfranchised and will also discourage thuggery of any form”. Comments like these should be welcomed in a fair election. Any allegations of unfair practice or intimidation from ‘rogue’ or politically affiliated actors immediately undermines the integrity of such a civic exercise. 

Political violence is nonetheless a reality for Nigerians, just today, a politician Mr Akinlabi Akinnaso was shot dead, allegedly by security agents at the INEC collation centre in Idanre. Other instances of violence and insecurity have delayed the electoral process in certain regions. This election is expected to have a higher turnout than 2019, given the criticality. As a result all eyes are on the legitimacy of the election. There have been concerns regarding the delays on the INEC portal, which tracks the election live, leading to speculation of political sabotage. INEC commissioner Festus Okoye stated that, “The commission regrets this setback, especially because of the importance of IReV in our results management process. The problem is totally due to technical hitches related to scaling up the IReV from a platform for managing off-season, state elections, to one for managing nationwide general elections”. He further addressed the concerns of the public by saying “These results cannot be tampered with and any discrepancy between them and the physical results used in collation will be thoroughly investigated and remediated, in line with Section 65 of the Electoral Act 2022”.

Delays under such critical circumstances are inevitable yet tend to foment public discontent, particularly when the strength of institutions is questioned. Damini Ogulu, ‘Burna Boy’, told INEC not to tamper results and engage in any kind of “result magic”. This was posted to his verified Instagram account where he expressed the will of the people will prevail in the 2023 elections. 

The political tension in Nigeria is exacerbating as results and suspicion begin trickling in. It is up to government institutions to uphold their constitutional requirements and the ‘fair play’ from candidates to acquiesce defeat, should it come. Most importantly, it is up to the voters in aggregate to identify the corruption and peacefully protest it, or legitimacy and accept the results.


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