NigeriaDecides2023: Nigerians go to the polls in tight presidential election

Abuja, Nigeria

Nigerians are going to the polls for a crucial presidential vote that will see the election of the country’s next leader. The hotly contested poll is taking place at the same time as voting for representatives to the country’s parliament.

Polling stations opened in Nigeria on Saturday morning in what will be the largest democratic event in Africa.

ABOUT 93 million Nigerians In the country, 200 million people are registered to vote, according to the INEC electoral body, but only 87 million are holders of a permanent voter card (PVC), which is the basic requirement for voting.

Polls in approximately 140,000 polling stations in the country opens at 8:30 AM local time and closes at 2:30 PM (or 2:30 AM ET Saturday to 8:30 AM ET). However, voters queuing to vote before closing time will still be able to vote, INEC. said.

One polling station in Lagos was delayed in opening as officials were still tuning in after polling stations were due to open, a CNN team witnessed. The official urged eager voters to remain calm and “treat each other with love” as they continue to wait.

The same problem occurred in several other polling places, including northern Kano state and southern Bayelsa state, where no election officials were in sight at 8:30 am local time, according to Reuters. In previous elections, voters in some areas complained that polling stations opened hours late or did not open at all.

Officials from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) installed voting materials at a polling station in Ojuelegba, Lagos on February 25, 2023, before polling stations open.

Ballots will be counted at the polling stations at the end of voting and transmitted electronically in real time to INEC. Results View Portal (IReV)The first of its kind in Nigeria, the commission reports to CNN.

“Thanks to the electronic transmission system (IREV), people already know the winners even before an official announcement is made,” adds Rotimi Oekanmi, representative of the chairman of INEC.

To win, a candidate must receive enough ballots to match 25% of the vote in 24 of Nigeria’s 36 states. In case of his absence within 21 days, a second round of elections will be held between the two best candidates.

Eighteen candidates appear on the ballot for the first place in Nigeria, according to pre-election polls, but three are leading the race for the popular vote.

One of the key contenders is Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the short-term candidate of President Muhammadu Buhari’s party, the Congress of All Progressives (APC). The other is the main opposition leader and former Vice President of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar. And a third strong contender, Peter Obi, is running for the lesser-known Labor Party and has changed early presidential election predictions that used to be a two-horse race between the ruling and opposition parties.

Tinubu, 70, is a former governor of Nigeria’s wealthy Lagos state who wields considerable influence in the southwestern region, where he is known as a political godfather and kingmaker.

He boasts Help in elections Buhari to the presidency and declares that now it is his turn to lead the country.

Opposition PDP candidate Abubakar, 76, is a former Vice President of Nigeria and a committed capitalist who made his fortune by investing in various sectors of the country.

Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar

Here’s what you need to know about the Nigerian presidential election

Abubakar’s presidential bid (his sixth attempt) raised concerns that it might usurp an informal arrangement alternate between the northern and southern regions of Nigeria as he is from the same northern region as outgoing leader Buhari.

Obi of the Labor Party was twice governor of the southeastern state of Anambra, and his hordes of supporters, mostly young Nigerians who called themselves “obedient”, touted him as a worthy alternative to the two main candidates.

Obi is also the only Christian among the leading candidates. Its southeast region has not yet had a president or vice president since Nigeria returned to civilian rule in 1999.

Labor Party presidential candidate Peter Obi (centre) speaks to the media outside a polling station in Amatutu in the western state of Anambra on Saturday.

Tinubu, from the ruling party from the religiously mixed southwestern part of the country, is a Muslim and has also chosen a Muslim candidate, despite the country’s unofficial tradition of issuing mixed-faith presidential candidates.

All three top candidates are confident they can change Nigeria’s fortunes if they vote for power as the country grapples with a host of economic and security issues that range from fuel and cash shortages to rising terrorist attacks, high inflation and a plummeting local currency.

One voter, Vandu, told CNN’s Larry Madovo in Lagos on Saturday that the most important issue is security: “We need someone who has an understanding of the security issues that we have. The economy is in free fall. We need someone who has a clear understanding of what we need to get better.”

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

Nigerian security forces mobilized personnel ensure uninterrupted pre-election campaigning throughout the country.

The preparations for the elections were fraught with violence, sparked by protests against unpopular government policies and fatal attacks by armed criminal gangs.

On Wednesday, the Labor Party senatorial candidate was shot and burned in his campaign car in the country’s southeastern state of Enugu, police said.

The electoral body of INEC suspended elections in the Enugu East Senatorial District following the death of a candidate. tweeted on Saturday, adding that the election will now take place on March 11.

Violent protests erupted in Nigerian states prior to the assassination as citizens protested the lack of gasoline at gas stations and the shortage of cash that followed. Controversial currency redesign.

INEC has not escaped chaos; his objects were set on fire V parts of the country.

The vote was canceled in over 200 planned polling stations throughout Nigeria, and voters were redirected to other polling places, INEC said due to security concerns.

In the run-up to the elections, the national police ordered restriction non-essential vehicles and waterways from midnight on Election Day until 6 pm, while the country’s immigration service ordered Closure of Nigerian land borders Saturday midnight to Sunday midnight.

Weeks before Election Day Over 6,000 voter cards confiscated from illegal migrants, who, he said, had other national documents.

A Department of Public Services (DSS) employee stands guard at a polling place in Amatutu in the western state of Anambra on Saturday.

However, INEC spokesperson Oekanmi insists that the results of the survey will be free and fair.

“Nigerians’ experience in the 2023 elections will be much better than previous elections and the integrity (of the polls) will be evident to everyone,” Oekanmi told CNN days before the election.

The final results are expected to be announced a few days after the vote.

Current President Buhari tweeted on Thursday: “After the announcement of the election results, there should be no riots or acts of violence. All complaints, personal or institutional, must be directed to the appropriate courts.”

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