© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Buhari, Atiku satisfied after voting, Obi, Sowore say process is slow
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has expressed satisfaction with the voting process after the polls opened across the country for the 2019 general elections. So also did Atiku, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Buhari’s major challenger.
However, Peter Obi, Atiku’s running mate, and Omoyele Sowore, presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), complained that the process was rather clumsy, cumbersome and frustrating.
Buhari voted at the Kofar Baru, Sarkin Yara “A” ward in his hometown, Daura, in Katsina State, alongside his wife, Aisha. They were the first to vote at the polling unit.
Aisha voted first at 8.06 am, while the president voted at 8.10 am, about four minutes apart.
Speaking to journalists shortly after casting his vote, Buhari said: “So far, so good. Nigerians understand and are behaving themselves.”
Asked whether he would concede defeat should he lose the election, Buhari responded: ‘I will congratulate myself; I am going to be the winner.”
— Bashir Ahmad (@BashirAhmaad) February 23, 2019
Similarly, Atiku who voted at some minutes past 10 am on Saturday, said he was satisfied with the process so far, adding that he was confident of victory and that he looks forward to a peaceful transition after the elections.
However, the story was a little different in Agulu, Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra State, hometown of Peter Obi.
Obi cast his vote at some minutes past eight in the morning, but he complained about the “clumsiness” of the process.
“The process could be faster,” he said. “You can see how long it took me to be able to vote.”
The ICIR observed that it takes an average of two to three minutes for one to vote. Sometimes, it takes as much as four or five minutes.
This may be connected to the number of political parties on the ballot paper. According to INEC, 73 out of the total 91 political parties in Nigeria are fielding candidates for the presidential election, thus making the ballot paper rather too crowded.
A voter will need to study carefully before being able to thumbprint the ballot paper to avoid voting for the wrong party or rendering the vote invalid as a result of marking in-between party logos.
Obi also confirmed that many members of the PDP, including himself, were harassed by security officials on Friday evening, the eve of the elections, saying that the development “spells trouble for the entire country”.
For Omoyele Sowore, publisher of Sahara Reporters and presidential candidate of the (AAC), the voting process was “cumbersome and frustrating”.
“The process is a little slow and frustrating for voters; people standing out here for hours just to get accredited and then vote. It is a little bit cumbersome and frustrating, but otherwise, it’s being good so far. I’m glad we saw a huge turnout of voters,” he said.