2023 elections: Enthusiasm, pitfall trail voting as Nigerians cast their votes

By our reporters

Nigerians on Saturday, February 25, 2023 performed their civic right by casting their votes for their preferred presidential, senatorial and House of Representatives candidates.

When SDNONLINE moved round, there were security operatives around polling units to protect voters and officers of the electoral body. Roads that are prone to traffic were free and easy to ply due to restriction of movement of people and vehicles. Markets, shops, offices were under lock and key for people to vote their preferred candidates.

It was a mixed experience across the States as Nigerians went out to vote for their choice candidates. While some areas experienced high turn out, some were low. In some areas, INEC officials did not arrive on time and some had to start voting around 11am and 12pm.

In Lagos state, some areas recorded high turn out of voters. For example, the vote which was supposed to start at 8.30am with accreditation of voters did not start at exact time in some polling units. In some places, voting did not start until 10am while in some 11am.and 12pm respectively. However, in few places like Lekki, Polling unit 071, voters could not exercise their franchise due to absence of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officers.
As expected, police were seen at the polling units to provide protection to both INEC officers and voters. There were police vans as well as military vans patrolling the environment to forestall any violence.

However, unlike before when youths would turn the roads to football pitch, there was nothing like that as most youths were seen across the polling centres to vote. In some areas, even the sick were seen being aided to the polling units to cast their votes. However, in Lekki, some voters were unable to vote as a result of absence of INEC officers to administer voting materials.

“We have done our best, we leave the rest for God to touch the heart of our leaders,” said a voter who claimed anonymous.

In Ogun state, electorate also came out to cast their votes. Some areas also witnessed late arrival of INEC officers.
At Oba T.T. Dada, Ota Market, INEC officers arrived at 10.50am while electorate were already waiting. At Open field polling unit, opposite Canaanland, voters turned out enmass to cast their votes. Generally, the voting was peaceful.

A voter said, “I just finished voting at Liberty Estate gate, magboro, very orderly and peaceful.”
Observation showed that preferences were given to elderly and pregnant people.

In Cross River, voters were seen carrying out their civic right. However, INEC officers were late in some areas and there was allegation of vote buying in some areas as well.
There was high turn out at the four polling units at Satellite Town while at Abong Aseng polling booth, voters were yet to vote as at 12.30pm. At Etta-Agbor, Batabe/Amika Odu layout and Etonko polling units, people cast their votes without any problem.

At Atu by Golden Round About, Atu Secondary School, Atu by Nelson Mandela, Lutheran Primary School, Atu, there were no problems.

However at Atu by Academy, there was slow administration of voting materials as many were yet to vote as at 12.30pm.

“I got to the polling unit at 8am and did not vote until 11am. As at 12.30pm, about 800 people are yet to vote,” said a voter.
At Palm Street, INEC officers started attending to electorate at 11am.

In Bayelsa State, some polling units also experienced late arrival of INEC officers.
While casting his vote, Former President Goodluck Jonathan expressing his views on the conduct of the election said, “INEC should improve on distribution of election materials.”


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