The outcome of Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections will become clearer as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) begins collation today.
As of press time, Saturday results from the various polling units across the country were still trickling in.
Frontline presidential candidates – Ahmed Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) and Rabiu Musa Kwankawaso of the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) – won in their respective polling units.
The candidates had, after casting their ballots, lauded the election process and expressed confidence of victory.
The exercise was described as largely peaceful, though there were cases of violence and disruption of voting exercise recorded in Lagos, Kogi and Bayelsa states.
There were also reports of the late start of voting and malfunctioning of the Bimodal Voter Authentication System (BVAS) in some polling units across the country.
Meanwhile, some prominent Nigerians and bigwigs of various political parties have failed to deliver their polling units for their parties’ presidential flag bearers.
They include the national chairman of the APC, Abdullahi Adamu, in whose polling unit LP’s Peter Obi won. However, Obi’s running mate, Ahmed Datti, lost his polling unit to APC’s Tinubu.
Collation begins today – INEC chair
Speaking in Abuja yesterday, during the second situation briefing at the national collation centre, INEC Chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu said the centre would be officially opened mid-day today for the collation of results.
He also announced the suspension of elections in 141 polling units in four wards of Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, over insecurity.
He said the voting process was interrupted by thugs before security agencies were later reinforced.
He said the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members handling the affected PUs were apprehensive which led to the postponement.
Yakubu also said the processes were disrupted in some polling units in seven local government areas over insecurity and thuggery in Imo State.
Also affected were three LGAs in Edo State where elections were postponed to March 11 due to the omission of one of the political parties’ logo; available on the results sheet but not on the ballot paper.
The INEC chairman also said some BVAS were carted away by thugs.
“Unfortunately, we continue to lose some of the BVAS. I reported in the morning the loss of some devices. Unfortunately, we also lost three BVAS in Ayemelu in Anambra State, but we have recovered.
“There were issues arising from the commencement process in Abia, Imo and Kebbi among other places. I am happy to say that the process is ongoing in Abia. The polling units will remain open beyond the voting hour until the last person before 2:30pm votes.
“In Imo, the process is ongoing except in a few areas of PUs marked by insecurity and thuggery spread across seven LGAs and the situation in Kebbi State is stable. Voting is going on mainly in Birnin-Kebbi which was earlier affected.
“But in Bayelsa State, particularly in the capital, were four wards, Wards 4,6, 8, and 14 involving 141 polling units. The process was disrupted. We re-mobilised security to proceed with the process but the corps members expressed some apprehension about going back so we met with the security agencies and decided that voting in these 141 PUs where all the materials are intact will take place tomorrow morning,” Yakubu said.
He said there was an agreement to hold the election in these locations on Sunday.
“In Lagos, we have been closely following the situation in Okota, Mafoluku, Oshodi and Elegushi. We have been able to normalise the situation in a number of places and voting is ongoing, so we will keep our eyes on the processes in the other areas that I had mentioned.
“In a large number of PUs, voting is closed and sorting and counting have commenced. Between now and the last briefing, we have taken up a proactive step by meeting with the Inspector General of Police, the National Security Adviser, and the Commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps. The idea is to strengthen security as we move into the next stage of the process, which is a collation of results in locations where voting has been concluded at the polling units.
“I would also like to say that in Edo State. We had a situation that we handled yesterday; one of the parties whose logo is on the results sheet but is not on the ballot paper.
“In a meeting with the stakeholders, a decision was taken on the materials and the elections. So we have suspended the election for Esan North, South, and Iguebe.
“The ballot papers will be reprinted and the election will now hold along with the state elections on the 11th of March. That is in the next two weeks. We are determined that no Nigerian should be disenfranchised.
“So we have been responding to some of the situations as they arise. And we are going to do so overnight. We will open the collation centre tomorrow, so this is an update on the situation mentioned earlier,” he said.