© 2018 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
2019 Elections: Large turnout, late arrival of election materials in South West, North Central States
DESPITE anticipated voters’ apathy, electorate on Saturday morning turned out massively to exercise their voting right at the ongoing Presidential and National Assembly elections.
From Kwara to Oyo State, Osun, Lagos and most parts of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), electorate were out as early as 6 am, ready for the election.
Some of the voters organised themselves, either by writing names based on the time they arrived at the polling centres or joining a queue.
However, officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) arrived late at most of the polling units across the states.
As at 8:27 am in Ward 003, Unit 006, Ibadan North West Local Government Area (LGA), INEC officials were yet to arrive the Polling Units.
In PU 019, Ibagun Ward, Ilorin East LGA, Kwara Central Senatorial District, Kwara, INEC officials were yet to resume as at 8:30 am.
Also, in Osodi-Isolo, Lagos, as at 9:22 am there were no signs of INEC officers. Precisely in Lekki, Ojo, Gbagada, Kosofe, even in Ikoyi, INEC materials were yet to arrive as at 9:30 am.
In Orile Iganmu, a voter identified as Wale accused the military of threatening the electorate and persuading the people to vote for a particular candidate.
At PU 013 and 017, as at 9:55 am, there were no election materials at Admiralty Way, Lekki, Lagos.
Senator Oluremi Tinubu, who voted at exactly 10:10 am at Ward 9 unit 34, Ikoyi was not worried at the late arrival of the INEC officials. She said the election started at about 12 noon in 2015 but called for improvement on the part of the electoral umpire.
The INEC officials had arrived at 9:10 am rather 7 am recommended by the commission.
But in Ogun State, especially in former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s ward, designated as Ward 11 Unit 22, Olusomi Compound, Abeokuta North LGA, is yet to commence two hours into the election.
Although there was a high turnout of voters at the ward, there were no INEC officials or materials on the ground.
It was a similar situation in PU 23, Ward 5, Oda Road, Akure in Ondo State, where voting was yet to commence as at 9:28 am, though INEC officials were present with voting materials.
In Akungba, Ondo State, voting was yet to commence as at 9:33 am in PU 2, Ward 12, Holy Trinity Anglican Church.
— The ICIR (@TheICIR) February 23, 2019
Also, in Kwara, PU 019, Ibagun ward, Ilorin East LGA, Kwara Central Senatorial District, electoral officers were seen as at 8:05 am sorting electoral materials. Two Ad hoc staffs were sighted pasting voters’ register at the PU.
Voter’s thereafter moved in to check their names on the register. However, by 9:05 am proper voting eventually commenced at the PU.
At PU 06, precisely in Oro, Irepodun LGA, Kwara South, the card reader failed to authenticate fingers of the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed. The commission later reverted to manual voting to enable the minister to exercise his franchise.
11:35 PU 06, Oro, Irepodun Lg, Kwara south
Minister Lai Muhammed about to cast his vote. The card reader didn’t authenticate his fingers so they had to use the manual
#CDDAnalysisCentre #NigeriaDecides2019 #SnapAndSend pic.twitter.com/JYymtA4E2b
— CDD West Africa (@CDDWestAfrica) February 23, 2019
However, in Osun State, actual voting already started by 8:25 am in PU 002, Ward 1, Popo-Iragbiji Boripe LGA.
Also in Osun state, voting also commenced 9:09 am at PU 007, Ward 8, Olonde, Ikirun, Ifelodun LGA, Osun Central Federal Constituency.
In Ekiti, The ICIR gathered that voting commenced early at exactly 8 am. In places like Ward 10 Unit 20, Ayelabola Compound, Iyin Ekiti; Units 1 and 2, Ward 2, Ido Ekiti, Ido/Osi LGA, it started early, except for Ward 4 Unit 10, Asumpta Hospital, Ado Ekiti where the exercise commenced at about 8: 30 am.
In his reaction, Festus Okoye, INEC National Communication Information, acknowledged the irregularities.
He said there could be a pocket of issues from over 57, 000 voting points nationwide but it does not reflect the true status of the entire election. Okoye further condemned the actions where the military was accused of influencing voters’ right to vote for the candidate of their choice.
“The INEC officers ought to be at the polling units as early as 7 am but it’s otherwise. I will check this out when I get to the situation room and contact all the supervisors in charge of the affected places,” he stated.
He also acknowledged early arrival of voters as early as 5 am and 6 am at the various PUs across the country.