As Nigerians, Sunday, await results from the presidential poll, civil society groups warned that violence and disorganisation of the electoral process recorded in some parts of the country may have undermined the polls.
Some polling units and collation centres were reported to have been attacked by thugs who took possession of ballot papers and destroyed them. More 10 lives have also been lost in elections-related violence in the country.
“These were not the elections Nigerians wanted; they were not the elections Nigerians expected; and, most importantly, they were not the elections Nigerians deserved,” said Yiaga Board Chair, Hussaini Abdu during a press conference on the conduct of the poll.
Idayat Hassan, of the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) told AFP in Abuja that the 2019 elections were a setback.
“This election was a serious deterioration from 2015. What we now expect from a credible, free and fair election was not there,” she said.
Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party Atiku Abubakar, has condemned the violence, reiterating his earlier statement that his ambition was not worth the blood of any Nigerian.
The supporters of both Atiku and the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, who is also the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, have declared that their candidates were leading, but Mahmood Yakubu, chairman of INEC, the Nigerian electoral body told reporters that “only the Independent National Electoral Commission can tally figures, announce results and declare winners.”
INEC, however, said it was “generally satisfied” with the poll, although voting extended into late Saturday in some areas as voters’ card readers failed and materials arrived late. Voting even contiued on Sunday at some polling units.
Nigerians expect INEC to officially declare results in the coming days.
Whoever wins the presidential poll will be expected to tackle growing insecurity, endemic corruption and boost the economy which is currently growing at a slower rate than Nigeria’s population growth.