© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Notable heroes of Nigeria’s 2019 elections
AMID reports of great delay at many polling units, violence, ballot box snatching, inefficient smart card readers, insufficient electoral materials among other unpleasant occurrences, the 2019 general elections in Nigeria have not been a chain of purely negative events.
There are flickers of heartwarming demonstrations of courage, determination, compassion, patriotism, and heroism, recorded in voting centres across the country last Saturday.
For instance, there are stories of a man who came to the polling station with his entire family, aged and disabled citizens who did not mind the stress involved in getting accredited and exercising their franchise, a patient who left his sick bed to vote in Karu Ward, Abuja, with the intravenous catheter still attached to his right wrist, and of persons who brought chairs and mats to their unit so as to cast their vote and watch the counting.
We have a look at some of the stories that stood out, especially those that stirred a sensation on the internet.
The dogged Lagos cop: Sergeant Nuhu Bibiya
While there are videos of law enforcement agents who looked on and did nothing as political thugs ran off with ballot boxes, there is one that stands out in the opposite direction.
The 30-seconds-long video which has been shared multiple times on social media platforms shows a police officer, whom The ICIR has been able to identify as Sergeant Nuhu Bibiya with force number 379196, trying frantically to prevent the displacement of ballot boxes.
As a gang of six men grabbed the boxes from under the tent, helpless Bibiya chased after them, returned the boxes, and tried to shield the materials from further damage. The video showed him struggling with the thugs several times.
only one police against APC thugs in okota lagos state pic.twitter.com/JyPBrtkHFg
— Ayobami Adunbi ( my retweet is an endorsement) (@AdunbiAyobami) February 23, 2019
The incident took place at a polling unit in Okota, Lagos, and reports say those who destroyed the electoral materials were led by one ‘Demola, a member of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC). The police officer had held on to ‘Demola in the beginning of the footage before he darted off the scene.
In a second video, ‘Demola was shown wriggling in discomfort on the road as residents of the community hurled hard objects, including stones, at him. His motorcycle was also set on fire. Meanwhile, spokesperson of the OPC, Yinka Oguntimehin, has insisted that the mobbed offender does not belong to the OPC.
The brave corps member: Adaji Omonu
One of the exceptional stories of courage that circulated during the presidential and national assembly elections of Saturday is that of Adaji Omonu Muhammed. Adaji is a member of the National Youth Service Corps and serves at Community Secondary School, Bonny-Island, Rivers State.
A picture, which has been shared numerous times on the social media, shows him carrying a female corps member, Fakorede Bukola Omolola, who was apparently hurt to safety. According to available reports, persons armed with weapons had invaded the polling unit they were assigned to in Bonny, Rivers State, and fired at voters.
Adaji’s profile on Facebook says he hails from Ankpa, Kogi State, studied at Government Science Secondary School, Lokoja, and graduated from Auchi Polytechnic, Edo State, in 2017.
A Twitter user, @MrEnebechi, shared the bank account details of both Adaji and Fakorede and appealed for goodwill donations. Shortly after, the corps members uploaded a video to express their gratitude and debunk false reports claiming that the female corps member had passed on.
Asked if she plans to participate in the second set of elections on March 9 as an ad-hoc staff for the electoral commission, she replied in the negative.
The hospital patient who just must vote: Danladi Pasali
Besides the patient who voted in Abuja with his catheter and was reported by The ICIR, another patient received widespread praises for a similar feat. It was Danladi Pasali, national secretary of the Independent Petrol Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN).
He had been admitted to the hospital as a result of a gunshot wound sustained close to two weeks ago, after an attack by armed robbers on Badeh road.
In his hospital gown and aided by a walker, he made his way through an ambulance to his polling unit at Layin Ba’are, Jos north local government area, Plateau State.
Pasali is also the National Coordinator of the Buhari Campaign Organisation (BCO).
The grandma who wouldn’t give up
Yet another clip which has gone viral for all the good reasons is one showing an octogenerian woman and her middle-aged daughter, both waiting to vote at Azunike Primary School, Abakpa Nike, Enugu State.
As at noon, the ad-hoc staff members of the Independent National Electoral Commission had still not shown up; and so they returned home to bring all they would need to wait as long as they could: a mat, pillows, bed sheet, water flask, plastic chairs, adequate food, and so on.
“Yes o! We came with seats because I don’t want anybody’s disturbance,” said the younger woman as she placed the a plastic chair close to her mat. “We came with lunch and dinner and our mat; we will sleep here today.
“Our food is in the car. We will not go back. Accreditation has not started up till now. We must do it [that is the election] today,” added the mother.