High turn-out of voters at Mogadishu Cantonment, Asokoro, Abuja
Nigerians have trooped out in their numbers to vote in today’s presidential election. Preliminary reports from our reporters show a much larger voter turnout than in previous presidential elections. In the Federal Capital Territory, voters lined up to vote as early as 7am and waited patiently for the INEC polling officers to arrive. They came on time in many places, and arrived as late as 10 am in others. To the credit of INEC, more polling units have been created based on the number of registered voters to reduce standing time. Accreditation is now easier and voters vote as they are accredited, and have the option of going home or staying on. However, there were cases of hitches in the accreditation process due to glitches by the BIVAS machines. Some names in the voters register were not authenticated by the machine with their finger prints. They took photographs of the voters and equally drew blank. Consequence? No voting. Security is good for now. Each polling unit has a team of police, Road Safety Corps, and/or Civil Defence. The roads in FCT are effectively manned by the Police and the military. The military are on the highways and on patrol while the police are in the internal roads. They are civil to those on the road and allow them to go through the checkpoints if identified to have election responsiblity. From the high turnout of voters and delays in accreditation because of slow authentication by the BIVAS machines, voting may go on beyond 6 pm in high density areas. But the voters appear unperturbed as they are determined to cast their ballots. Many have brought seats from home and hawkers are handy with cold drinks and snacks. Many have also brought their food from home. As INEC instructed, preference is given to the elderly, the sick , pregnant women and the disabled. So far, no ugly incidents in the polling stations our reporters have visited. It appears that INEC has shown a high level of ‘prudence’ in procurement of the 2023 election. No vests, no bags, no note books, no laminated cards for journalists and other observers. They just gave you the manually filled card to go and laminate yourself! It is the most spartan procurement in the history of elections since 2023.