The electoral authorities of Nigeria started last Saturday night (25/02) the counting of votes for the presidential elections after some complaints of irregularities, vandalism of polling stations, technical problems to open the polling centers and lack of personnel at the polls .
Nigerians went to the polls on Saturday to elect a new president and parliament in what was seen as the most open vote since Africa’s most populous nation transitioned from military rule to democracy in 1999.
Polling stations closed at 14:30 local time (13:30 GMT) and the publication of the final result must be given within two weeks, although the Electoral Commission has promised to make an effort to publish it as soon as possible.
Some 93 million Nigerians in a country of 200 million people are registered to vote, according to the electoral body INEC, but only 87 million have a permanent voter card (PVC), a key requirement to do so.
Ballot boxes in 176,000 polling stations opened at 8:30 am local time and closed at 2:30 pm. However, voters who were in line to vote before closing time were still able to exercise their right, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said.
During the elections, delays in opening polling centers were reported. A polling station in Lagos, in southwest Nigeria, was delayed in opening because staff were still settling in after they were supposed to open the ballot boxes.
The same problem was reported in several centers, including in northern Kano state and southern Bayelsa state, with no election officials in sight.
There are also reports of groups vandalizing polling stations, preventing voting and destroying ballot boxes.
INEC postponed voting for the presidential and National Assembly elections in 141 polling stations in the state of Bayelsa until this Sunday (26/02).
To ensure election security, the Nigerian police reported deploying more than 301,900 security officers across the country. In addition, the country announced the closure of all its land borders from midnight yesterday until this Sunday.
President Muhammadu Buhari, 80 years old, leaves office under the Constitution after two terms marked by the escalation of insecurity and poverty in this country where 60% of the population is under 25 years old.
Eighteen candidates are running in this presidential race, but polls indicate that only three have a real chance of winning: Muslim Bola Tinubu, candidate of the Congress of All Progressives (APC) government; Atiku Abubakar, of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP); and Christian Peter Obi of the Labor Party.