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It’s ‘Election Day’ as Nigerians choose new President, Federal lawmakers  –INEC

Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of INEC

*The Independent National Electoral Commission, affirms Saturday, February 25, 2023, ‘is Election Day’, insisting ‘voter enthusiasm is high, and so too is our determination to conduct credible elections’ in the country’s uninterrupted democracy in the last 24 years

*BVAS system works very well, says Peter Obi but Governor Nyesom Wike relates otherwise in Rivers State 

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared there has been no incident of insecurity involving the personnel and materials deployed by the Commission.

Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of INEC, who stated this at a media briefing Friday, February 24, 2023, in Abuja, FCT, also confirmed that Nigeria’s 2023 Presidential and National Assembly (NASS) Elections would hold as planned for Saturday, February 25.

Yakubu, whose assurances came a few hours before the presidential polls said: “Generally speaking, the situation is calm in the country as far as our preparation is concerned.”

INEC personnel using a BVAS machine 

According to him, there had been no incident of insecurity involving the personnel and materials deployed by the Commission this far.

He noted that “voter enthusiasm is high, and so too is our determination to conduct credible elections. Tomorrow (Saturday) is election day.”

ConsumerConnect reports updates across the country later Saturday indicated that there were pockets of infractions in regard to either violent incidents, intimidation, stealing of BVAS machines, and snatching of ballot boxes in Abuja, as well as several other states of the Federation, including Rivers, Kano, Lagos, Bayelsa, Edo, Delta, Imo and Katsina, among others.

Nigerians vote February 25 and March 11 for the seventh General Elections since the country’s return from Military rule to democracy in 1999, the country is now in its Fourth Republic, enjoying uninterrupted democracy in the last 24 years, after three democratic epochs burgled by Military through bloody coups.

Overview of 2023 Nigeria Elections

As Nigerians decide 2023, it was learnt voter turnout is expected to increase significantly in this year’s elections.

Already, 87,209,007 people had collected their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), representing 93.3 percent of the 93,469,008 total registered voters, according to INEC.

Analysts noted though nascent, the democracy in Africa’s most populated country with over 210 million people has withstood many challenges in over two decades.

Of its huge population from which the figure was listed as eligible voters for the 2023 General Elections, INEC disclosed 44,441, 846 (47.5%) are females while 49,054,162 (52.5%) are males.

Similarly, of the total number of registered voters, 37,060,399 are youths while 33,413, 591 are middle-aged persons.

About 87,209,007 Nigerians with Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), representing 93.3 percent of the 93,469,008 total registered voters Saturday, February 25 will choose the successor to President Buhari whose two-term tenure of eight years ends May 29 this year.

There are also 18 political parties fielding candidates for the elections slated to hold in two phases, beginning with the Presidential and National Assembly elections on Saturday, while Governorship and State Houses of Assembly hold Saturday, March 11, 2023.

By implication, 18 candidates are expected to contest in winning the Presidential election and be the new occupant of Aso Rock Villa, the West African country’s seat of power in Abuja, after Buhari’s tenure.

Therefore, pundits have said the race is largely among Labour Party’s Mr. Peter Obi, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu of All Progressives Congress (APC), and Dr. Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP).

A total of 1,100 senatorial candidates are equally slugging it out for 109 senatorial seat in the National Assembly, whereas 3,112 House of Representatives candidates across 36 states, and the Federal Capital Territory are contending and 360 seats of the Federal Lower (Green) Chamber.

On functionality of BVAS machines at polling units

Meanwhile, after voter accreditation and casting his vote Saturday, in Anambra State, his home state, Mr. Peter Obi, Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party, affirmed to reporters at his polling unit, that the INEC electoral equipment, especially the BVAS system, “worked very well.”

However, Governor Nyesom Woke of Rivers State, during the Presidential Election Saturday in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, told reporters, that the BVAS system has been faulty, as he himself could not cast his vote after accreditation.

The governor lamented despite assurances by INEC that all was ready for the electoral exercise, he and several other potential voters still could not exercise their franchise.

Wike, therefore, urged INEC to correct the anomaly to ensure the success of the exercise in the area.

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