Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it will begin announcement of the closely contested national elections 48 hours after voting. That means Nigerians should expect to hear the official results of the polls on Tuesday.
This is the first time in Nigeria that the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has faced a strong challenge from any opposition party. In the elections that was conducted on Saturday, March 28, 2015 President Goodluck Jonathan is in a head-to-head battle with former military head of state, Muhammadu Buhari, presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC).
Due to some challenges with logistics and other electoral materials in some parts of the country, voting continued to the next day, Sunday, March 29. The logistics challenges was largely necessitated by the card readers, which malfunctioned at various centres including the president polling unit.
The President was among those unable to cast his vote using the technology, which was introduced to prevent fraud, a situation which his party, the PDP, which had opposed the introduction and usage of the card readers, has described as a “huge national embarrassment”.
Commenting on the issue of mass failure of the card readers, the INEC Chairman, Proffessor Attahiru Jega said only a fraction of the 150,000 card readers being used nationwide had failed.
There have also been pockets of violent attacks linked to insurgents in states like Gombe, Rivers and Bauchi.
The Islamic sect, Boko Haram attacked polling stations in the just freed north-eastern states, with a curfew declared in Bauchi State after fighting between the security forces and the group. In Rivers State, there was tension as people protested on the streets about the killing of opposition loyalists, missing result sheets and the electoral malpractices. These complains were alleged by the APC in the state.
Yesterday, in a press briefing in Abuja, the INEC chief said that the Commission had received the complaints from the APC in Rivers State, adding that one of their offices in a local government in the state was torched during the unrest.
International observers such as the ECOWAS, UN, however, have praised the polls despite technical hitches, protests and violence. The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon praised the “determination and resilience” of Nigerian voters, despite the reports of attacks by Boko Haram and others.
According to him, the elections had been “largely peaceful and orderly”. His comments have been echoed by the ECOWAS, chaired by the Ghanaian president John Mahama which urged Nigerians to accept the result no matter who emerges as the winner.
The results of the voting are expected to arrive form Monday night but so far there is no official indication of which party is in the lead and INEC has warned persons who are peddling results of the elections to desist from such act in their own interest, as only INEC is authorized by law to officially declare the results of elections in the country.