People in Nigeria vote in the February 25, 2023 presidential and parliamentary elections in this photo.
Abuja – Delays of several hours in the opening of polling stations, technical problems and violent incidents accompanied today's presidential and parliamentary elections in Nigeria. According to the BBC server, millions of people stood in queues in front of the polling stations even after they closed at 14:30 CET. Today, this most populous African country is to elect a successor to President Muhammadu Buhari, who was barred from running for a third consecutive term. The final results should be known within five days.
“They stole the telephones of the election officials and took three ballot boxes with them,” one of the voters described today's incident in Nigeria's largest city, Lagos, to the BBC. According to him, a group of young men with machetes broke into the polling station. Shortly after, the soldiers arrived. In southern Nigeria's Delta state, gunmen have stolen at least two voter identity verification machines. In the state of Borno in the northeast of the country, where radical Islamists operate, they even shot at election officials. Several officials were injured, according to the BBC.
Polling stations were scheduled to open at 8:30 a.m. CET. According to Reuters reporters, some of them were not ready and the opening was delayed. In front of some, there were queues of voters waiting for officials to arrive. In past elections, voters in some areas complained that polling stations opened an hour late or not at all.
According to the BBC, two hours before the official closing of polling stations, some of them were not open. The reason was logistical problems or a security risk. But officials assured voters that anyone waiting in line will be able to vote.
Of the 18 presidential candidates, Atiku Abubakar (76) from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Bola Tinubu (70) from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peter Obi (61) from the small social-democratic Labor Party (LP) are considered the favorites. . Obi, who is a Christian, enjoys great popularity among the younger generation, who make up a large part of the electorate. Almost 40 percent of registered voters are under the age of 34. Both Abubakar and Tinubu Muslims have a significant power base throughout the country, but they have been accused of corruption.
Nigeria has a long history of electoral fraud and violence, although the electoral situation has been calming down in recent years. Presidential candidates pledged this week to promote a calm and transparent process. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it has introduced new technologies and procedures to ensure free and fair elections. Among other things, voters were to be identified using biometric data. Mobile phones were banned in polling stations. There have been cases in the past of people taking pictures of tickets as evidence for candidates who gave them money for their vote.
The election comes at a time when Nigerians are facing a cash crunch caused by a botched plan to exchange old notes for new. It has negatively affected people's daily lives and caused violence in banks and ATMs.
The new president will have to deal with a number of problems, from high inflation and deep poverty to energy shortages to Islamist insurgencies in the northeast, oil theft in south, separatism in the southeast, and kidnappings for ransom by various armed groups across the country.
Due to the election, land borders were closed and soldiers patrolled the streets of several cities.