Nigeria Counts Votes as Citizens Choose New State Governors

Officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) count votes at a polling station after local elections, in Lagos on March 18, 2023.InternationalIndiaAfricaThree weeks ago, Nigeria held its presidential and National Assembly elections, with the candidate from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party, Bola Tinubu, winning the presidential poll. Now the country’s public has shifted its focus to federal states.Nigeria held elections on Saturday to choose new state governors and state assembly members. The elections were initially scheduled to be held a week earlier but were postponed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to reconfigure electronic voting machines after general elections. The gubernatorial elections took place in 28 of the country’s 36 states as voting in the remaining states will be held off-season. Most of the incumbent Nigerian governors are ineligible for re-election because there is a two-term limit for governors in all states. Therefore, most of the states are picking new governors with just a few incumbent ones seeking re-election. Candidates from the country’s 18 political parties are vying for the positions. The last regular governorship elections for all Nigerian states took place in 2019.

At the same time, elections for members of state legislature were held in all states. According to the INEC, thousands of candidates are taking part in the elections for 993 State Houses of Assembly seats.

The counting has already started with results expected to be revealed by Monday.Nigeria Counts Votes as Citizens Choose New State GovernorsAfricaNigeria’s Electoral Commission Reschedules Local State Vote Following Court Ruling9 March, 10:14 GMTA tight race is expected for the position of Lagos State governor. The state, located in the south, is one of the most economically developed regions of the country. The incumbent governor from the APC, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, is seeking re-election, and the main opposition’s candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is Abdul-Azeez Olajide Adediran, aka Jandor. The Labor Party, which was founded to shake the dominance of these two parties in the country’s political life and gain support among the younger generation, nominated Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour as its candidate.

"This election is a battle for the soul of Lagos, is a battle where we want to put in a government for the people that works for the people and is focused and centered on the interests of the people," Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour is quoted as saying.

Only 24 of the 416 candidates vying to become a governor are women. The ruling APC chose Aishatu Dahiru as its candidate in the north-eastern state of Adamawa, making her the only female flagbearer of the mainstream party in the gubernatorial elections. If she wins the poll by defeating 13 other opponents, she will become the first elected female governor in the West African nation. As on general election day, 25 February, there were reports of violence and voter intimidation. At some polling stations the voting reportedly started late and delays took place. Nigeria Counts Votes as Citizens Choose New State GovernorsAfricaRunner-Up Candidate’s Party in Nigeria’s Presidential Election Says Not Recognizing Result2 March, 23:43 GMTAccording to media reports, independent observers from the European Union and other international bodies indicated some problems during last month’s elections, including disruptions caused by the electronic systems designed to prevent vote manipulation. The observers denounced INEC’s poor planning and criticized it for the delays.Furthermore, the results of the presidential election were rejected by the second and third place challengers, who argued that the election “was marred by deliberate malpractices”. The cause of the allegations and the subject of a legal dispute became the BVAS (Bimodal Voter Accreditation System) voting machines, which were used for the first time in Nigeria to provide greater transparency in the elections.Peter Obi, Labor Party candidate, sued to stop the reconfiguration of the BVAS machines so that his legal team could inspect them, saying that there were discrepancies between the results provided by the machine and the local manual count. However, the court ruled that the INEC could be used to reconfigure the voting machines to use them in local state governor and parliamentary elections, which were rescheduled for 18 March.


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