Nigerians all over the country have once again displayed their doggedness, tenacity and oneness of purpose at the ongoing election despite some logistical hiccups, rainfalls in certain places, long stay under the scorching sun, and differences in their preferred candidates. Even the physically challenged. the ailing, and some very aged citizens turned out enthusiastically to exercise their rights to vote.
Election was to have been concluded yesterday Saturday 28th March but for the flow over which the electoral commission has allowed to be concluded today. Some low points were recorded as some of the much hipped voters’ cards reader machine failed, even at the unit where President Jonathan voted.
But according to Professor Attahiru Jega, in an interview with Channels TV Saturday night after the election, he acknowledges, “Of course, man proposes and God disposes. We thought that this would be near perfect but regrettably there have been challenges. There were still cases of late distribution of materials and late arrivals in polling units but in spite of this we think its been very good also.
“We cannot but thank Nigerians for the passion they have shown, and the commitment to be able to vote in this general elections.”
Professor Jega was particularly happy about the exercise in the north-east region of the country where there had been fears of insecurity.
Election Postponement. He explained that elections which failed to hold on Saturday would be conducted in 13 federal constituencies and that will be on April 11 due to shortage of electoral materials.
Prof. Jega said that the decision was agreed to by all relevant stakeholders, who unanimously asked for all 11 federal constituencies in Jigawa State be moved to April 11 even though only seven federal constituencies were affected.
The INEC boss, however, looking on the bright side when he compared the situation with what obtained in 2011, “Federal constituencies alone we rescheduled over 60 and then we also rescheduled some senatorial because of shortages of materials,” he recalled.
Nevertheless, he expressed regret over the challenges faced. He stated that lessons have been learnt, which would be factored into preparations for the governorship and State Assembly elections holding on April 11.
Card Reader Flop: Professor Jega admitted that there were indeed challenges in the deployment of the card readers but the challenges were not significant enough to affect the overall success of the elections.
“From our general assessment, out of the 150,000 card readers which we have deployed, only about 450 were affected.
“But because we just wanted to ensure that Nigerians who have been patient in this process have an opportunity to exercise their rights and because the numbers are relatively insignificant, that’s why we thought it was necessary to do an addendum to the guidelines and allow those people to be able to vote once they can be physically authenticated and verified.
“Thank God it went well. The only challenge is that it meant the voting has gone on in some places into late evening and early night.”
He expressed confidence in the assurance given by security agencies that all arrangements had been made to secure all the polling units and ensure the successful completion of voting as well as a successful collation of the results.
RIVERS STATE: There were major issues however in Rivers State (the major oil-rich South-South state) where the governor Rotimi Amaechi refused to be accredited due to absence of election result sheet where at his polling ward and at some others. INEC is yet to comment on this. There were also cases of fracas in the state leading to some deaths including those of two soldiers.
Abia and Enugu States of the country also witnessed cases of violence, bomb explosion which the incumbent President refuted after voting at his home town.
The Enugu State commissioner of police, Dan Bature, confirmed the incident at the scene, saying,’three bombs were found in a Honda Accord car with registration. Number KUJ 971 ABJ.
The situation has now been normalized but accreditation is yet to commenced as at the time this report was filled in.
The worst incident so far was recorded in Kano where a bomb went off and over twenty five people killed. Boko Haram is still feared to have carried out the attack with the intention of hindering election but were said to have remained undeterred, going ahead to vote afterwards.
The nation await in baited breath as collation or results continue though some have started trickling in from different polling units across the country.