Election SecurityNews

NigeriaDecides: Anxiety Mounts In Nigeria As Officials Collate Results Of Presidential Election

On Sunday, officials announced the first state-level result as millions of Nigerians anticipate the outcome of the counting process underway across the country.

The first results for Nigeria’s Presidential polls were announced on Sunday evening in the capital, Abuja, as Nigerians anxiously waited for the outcome of the election held across the country yesterday. 

The outcome for Ekiti, in the southwest of the country, was announced by Resident Electoral Commissioner with the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu getting 210,494 votes and was followed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Atiku Abubakar with 89,554 votes.

While the Labour Party (LP) Peter Obi had 11,397 votes, and the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP)Rabiu Kwankwaso got 264 votes.

Earlier in the day, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, had briefed the public on the collation process for the presidential election, which will be done across the wards, States before arriving at the national collation centre in the Capital. 

The centre is expected to remain open until the determination of the presidential election; however, the Chairman noted that “there may be interlude or adjournments”. 

“This will be announced by the returning officer as the need arises. As soon as any of the state collation officers for the presidential election (SCOPES) arrive, the process of collation will begin. Once the process begins, the collection centre will be open all day and all night, subject only to short breaks as may be announced by the returning officer.” 

During his address yesterday, he disclosed some of the challenges encountered during the conduct of elections, including the loss of BVAS machines and a Boko Haram mortar attack. 

The commission had also suspended elections in 141 polling units in Bayelsa State in the south-south region over insecurity concerns. Voting was rescheduled for the next day after it was disrupted, and the NYSC ad hoc staff were scared to go back.

In addition to logistics and security issues in some locations, there were concerns about vote buying. Before voting commenced, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Friday had intercepted N32,400,000, which was suspected to have been dedicated to the key battle state of Lagos. Hours prior to the incident, the police in Rivers state had arrested a member of the house of representatives with $498,100 in his possession.

On Election day in Kaduna state in the northwest, EFCC officers arrested a woman with 18 voter cards and a 17-page list containing names of eligible voters, their bank details, and phone numbers.

Nigerians wait for the outcome 

Over 87 million people with Permanent Voter Cards were eligible to vote across over 176,000 polling units for Presidential and National Assembly candidates.

As the collation began, new concerns emerged related to the uploading of election results to the Result Viewing. A statement from the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, urged the Electoral Commission to upload election results to thwart any plans to compromise the process. The Labour party National Chairman, Julius Abure, had also raised concerns about the uploading of results.

The National Commissioner, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, a few hours ago revealed that they were aware of the challenges with the results viewing portal.

“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. It is indeed not unusual for glitches to occur and be corrected in such situations.”

The post-election tension has also led to renewed security concerns, especially in Lagos, where the police had previously said that several arrests were made in connection to violence recorded on Saturday. 

On Sunday, the police relation officer for the state, Benjamin Hundeyin, tweeted a warning that there was intelligence of a possible attempt to cause “foment trouble & wreak havoc”.

In Kano, the Electoral Commission office in the Takai Local Government Area of the State was reportedly set on fire.

“It was gathered that the incident happened at around 09:30 am on Sunday when some unidentified persons started beating people which forced election observers, journalists and INEC officials to scamper for safety and hide in the ceiling, but the thugs set the office on fire,” the Punch Newspaper reported.

The collation at the national centre would resume on Monday morning, with more states expected to have concluded and submitted the results of elections that will bring in a new government in May. 

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Murtala Abdullahi

Abdullahi Murtala is a researcher and reporter. His expertise is in conflict reporting, climate and environmental justice, and charting the security trends in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region. He founded the Goro Initiative and contributes to dialogues, publications and think-tanks that report on climate change and human security. He tweets via @murtalaibin

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