More than 87 million people were allowed to vote in Africa’s largest democracy. The security situation is challenging in many parts of the country. Many voters had difficulty voting.
The presidential election in Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria, has been massively delayed due to the tense security situation in several parts of the country. Hours after the polls officially closed at 2:30 p.m., thousands of voters across the country were still lining up to cast their votes.
Nigeria’s electoral authority INEC announced that several polling stations would also be open on Sunday morning, contrary to what had been planned. Counts have already been taken in other places. The first results should be announced on Sunday afternoon.
More than 87 million of the approximately 220 million inhabitants were registered to vote and had picked up their authorization cards – a record. In addition to the president of Africa’s largest economy, more than 400 seats in two chambers of parliament will also be elected.
The weeks leading up to the election were overshadowed by security concerns. Armed militias are active in the north of the country, including jihadist terrorist groups such as Boko Haram. In the north-west and center of the country, criminal gangs and bloody land conflicts are causing insecurity, while in the south-east it is violent separatists. In addition, cash shortages and a fuel crisis are causing problems for people.
The vote was accompanied by isolated incidents of violence in different parts of the country. According to the elections commission, gunmen attacked polling stations in three states to steal biometric voter identification devices. In parts of the states of Borno and Niger, the elections were postponed after attacks by jihadists, the chairman of the electoral authority admitted. Gunmen also attacked several polling stations in the economic metropolis Lagos and stole voting documents, whereupon the military was deployed.
Three promising candidates
President Muhammadu Buhari (80) is stepping down after two terms in office. For the first time since Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999, a third party has good chances alongside the candidates from the two dominant parties. The origin and religious affiliation of the candidates play a major role in Nigeria. Among the 18 applicants, the most promising candidates are the former governor of Lagos, Bola Tinubu (70) from the ruling party APC, and the former vice president Atiku Abubakar (76) from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), who is running for the sixth time. Peter Obi (61) from the Labor Party is particularly popular in large cities and among young people. For the first time, a runoff election for the presidency seems likely.
To win the election, a candidate must collect the most votes in the state and at least a quarter of the votes in two-thirds of the 36 states. If nobody achieves this goal, there will be a runoff three weeks later.
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.