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Police warn Oyo residents against circulating fake election results

By Suleiman Shehu

The Police on Sunday warned Oyo State residents against circulating fake election results of the Presidential and National Assembly elections.

The Oyo State Command’s spokesman, SP Adewale Osifeso, gave the warning in a statement made available to newsmen in Ibadan.

He said that spreading fake results on social media and other news platforms in the state was contrary to the policy and guidelines of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Osifeso said that the command frowned at the unpatriotic and mischievous attitude of some political sympathisers, who under the influence of the presumed result in circulation, attempted attacking polling units.

“It took the timely intervention of law enforcement personnel to calm the situation.

“The Command perceives this trend as a calculated attempt to heat up the polity and possibly create post elections chaos.

“To this end, the Oyo State police wishes to appeal to parents, guardians and leaders wielding different degrees of influence to prevail on their children against being used to disrupt the polity,” he said.

The PPRO said that commensurate sanctions would be meted out on violators of electoral guidelines.

He said the state’s Commissioner of Police, Adebowale Williams, urged residents to go about their lawful businesses without fear of harassment or molestation.

Osifeso said that comprehensive security had been put in place to ensure that the citizens of the state were safe.

Atiku calls for immediate upload of election results

By Emmanuel Oloniruha

Atiku alleges plot to smear his personalityPresidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has demanded immediate upload of Saturday presidential election results on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) server.

Abubakar made the call in a statement by his Media Adviser, Paul Ibe on Sunday in Abuja.

Abubakar advised INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to instruct the election collation officers to upload the results from the polling units to INEC server immediately.

Abubakar said the call became necessary to checkmate some governors trying to compromise the results at the local government collation level.

“It will be a disservice to Nigerians and a negation to democracy for anyone to subvert the will of the people as freely expressed in their votes of yesterday,” Abubakar said.

He called on Nigerians to be calm but vigilant to ensure that anti-democratic elements who were masquerading as progressives do not steal their mandate.

Abubakar expressed gratitude to the Nigerian people for their support so far and pledged to continue to work hard to earn their trust and confidence.

Youths protest in Lagos over disenfranchisement

By Esenvosa Izah and Jide Awoyinfa

Some youths in Lagos have expressed dismay over their denial to cast their votes during the just concluded Presidential and National Assembly elections.

The youths had expressed their grievances on Sunday, outside one of the collation centres at the Lagos State Model Nursery and Primary School, Maria, Lagos.

They claimed being disenfranchised because no Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) official was present at their Polling Units (PU) on Feb. 25 during the elections.

They had chanted the solidarity songs and were pouring out their displeasure by shouting, “We must Vote!”.

However, security operatives including the police and the army were on ground to ensure safety, orderliness and peace in the area.

One of them, who preferred to be addressed as Charles, claimed that elections did not hold at his Polling Unit, 064, Ward 6, United Estate in Sangotedo area of the state.

“We did not see any INEC official till now that I am here.

“What we want now is that we want to vote; even though my candidate does not win, I know that I will justify my feeling in my own fatherland.

“I want INEC to go there, allow us to vote; this is our era; we the youth must take our course,” he said.

Another disgruntled youth, Mr Henry Mba, said that the primary school where elections were to hold had 10 polling units, but only seven out of the ten casted their votes.

According to him, the three units where voters did not vote had the largest number of voters.

“Voters were present at those polling units till very late in the night, through to early hours of this morning, hoping to still cast their votes,” Mba said.

Speaking to the media, Mr Olubankole Wellington, known as Banky W, who was there to calm the youths, urged INEC to officially address stakeholders on the issues raised by the youths.

Banky W is the Progressives Democratic Party (PDP) House of Representative Candidate, Federal Constituency, Lagos State.

He said: “The days are gone when Nigerians will just sit by and allow people in authority to do whatever they want without being held accountable.

“So, what you are seeing is a community that is intending to hold the people in authority accountable, to allow them to exercise their civil rights, vote for who they want.

“Also, I think it is only fair; and at the end of the day, even if they are not ready to do it today, they should come out and address the people and let us know when they will vote.”

No INEC official was on ground to give comments.

Senate spokesperson, Bashiru loses senatorial seat

By Joshua Oladipo

The Senate Spokesperson, Sen. Ajibola Bashiru, has lost his bid for re-election into the Senate from Osun Central on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Bashiru lost to the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), Fadeyi Olubiyi, in Saturday’s election.

Prof. Ibrahim Usman, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Returning Officer, who announced the results on Sunday in Osogbo, said that Olubiyi polled 134, 229 votes to defeat Bashiru, who scored 117, 609 votes.

For Osogbo Federal Constituency, INEC returning officer, Dr Isiaq Egbewole, announced the PDP candidate, Adewale Muruf, as the winner.

The returning officer said that Muruf polled 71,677 votes to defeat Mrs Abosede Ogo-Oluwa of APC, who scored 58,992 votes.

Tinubu polls 201,484 to emerge winner in Ekiti

By Yinusa Ishola

Mr. Bola Tinubu

Sen. Bola Tinubu, the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has won the presidential election held on Saturday in Ekiti.

Our correspondent reports that Tinubu polled a total of 201, 484 votes, to defeat other candidates in the election, held across the 16 Local Government Areas of the State.

Prof. Akeem Lasisi, the Presidential Election Collation Officer for Ekiti, who announced the result at the INEC Headquarters in Ado-Ekiti, said that a total of 988, 923 voters registered in the state.

Lasisi, who is the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Health Sciences, Ila Orangun, Osun State, said the total number of accredited voters was 315, 058 while the total number of vote cast was 314, 472.

According to him, at the end of the exercise the total number of valid votes cast was 308, 171 while 6,301 votes cast were invalid.

The State Collation Officer listed the figure scored by other major contenders in the election as follows: Atiku Abubakar of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – 89, 554, Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) – 11, 397.

Lasisi, who described the turnout of voters in the state as very encouraging and impressive, based his observation on the total number of votes cast by the electorate during the Presidential election.

“Yes, the turnout was very impressive as you can see from the number of people that came out to exercise their franchise,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Odunayo Okunade, the agent of the Labour Party for the Presidential election, claimed that many of his party members were intimidated, and prevented from exercising their franchise during the poll.

He also claimed that the names of the party candidates for the Senatorial and House Representatives elections were omitted from the ballot papers.

“We are going to sit down and study the results for our next line of action.

“Some of our members were physically intimidated, assaulted and in the process prevented from voting.

“Not only that, more compounding is the non-inclusion of our candidates’ names on the ballot papers for the Senatorial and House of Representatives elections,” he said.

Reacting to the results, Mr Garuba Arogundade, the APC agent for the election, said, “the result scored by the party (APC) is a reflection of the fact that the party was and still highly connected with the people of the state.”

The detailed results is as contained in the break down below, showing the total scores by the four major parties that participated in the Presidential election, reflecting Local Government Areas and final collated result.

1. Ilejeme LG – APC, 4,599, PDP, 2, 662
LP, 97
2. Ise-Orun LG – APC, 11, 415, PDP, 2, 734, LP, 497
3. Efon LG – APC, 5, 873, PDP, 2, 521, LP, 125
4. Gbonyin LG – APC, 11, 969, PDP, 4, 178, LP, 245
5. Emure LG – APC, 8, 159, PDP, 3,035, LP, 465
6. Irepodun/Ifelodun – APC, 14, 265, PDP, 5, 516, LP, 544
7. Ikere LG – APC, 11, 659, PDP, 7, 198, LP, 910
8. Ijero LG – APC, 12, 628, PDP, 5, 731, LP, 373
9. Ido-Osi LG – APC, 11, 917, PDP, 7, 476, LP, 782
10. Ekiti West LG – APC, 14, 516, PDP, 4, 318, LP, 391
11. Moba LG – APC, 12, 046, PDP, 5, 847, LP, 246
12. Ikole LG – APC, 15, 465, PDP, 10, 198, LP, 779
13. Ekiti East – APC, 12, 426, PDP, 7, 782, LP, 375
14. Oye LG – APC, 14, 472, PDP, 7, 143, LP, 643
15. Ekiti South West – APC, 11, 334, PDP, 5, 047, LP, 440
16. Ado-Ekiti LG – APC, 28, 751, PDP, 8, 168, LP, 4, 485

Total scored by the major parties

APC – 201, 494

PDP – 89, 554

LP – 11, 397.

Bamidele thanks Ekiti voters for his re-election to senate

By Julius Toba-Jegede

The All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for Ekiti Central Senatorial District, Sen. Opeyemi Bamidele, has expressed appreciation to the people of Ekiti for voting him for a second term in the senate.

The senator also thanked people of the state for overwhelmingly voting for Sen. Bola Tinubu, the APC presidential candidate in Saturday’s elections.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, expressed the appreciation while speaking at a thanksgiving service held at Babamuboni Memorial Anglican Church, Iyin-Ekiti on Sunday.

It was reported that Bamidele was accompanied to the church service by his wife, Yemisi, family members, friends and political associates.

While thanking God for victory at the polls, he also sought the support and prayers of all sons and daughters of the state for the task ahead.

It was reported that Bamidele was earlier declared winner of the senatorial election by the INEC Collation Officer for Ekiti Central Senatorial District, Prof. Sola Omotola at the State Results Collation Centre in Ado-Ekiti.

He polled 69,351 to defeat his close rival, Lateef Ajijola of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who polled 26,181.

“My main purpose of coming here today is to give thanks to Almighty God for His amazing grace over my life and family and for the success of yesterday’s National Assembly and Presidential Election.

“I also thank God for making me to win the election in a landslide manner.

“I appreciate all our people in Ekiti Central Senatorial District and the Church of God. I am indebted to the Church leadership for their continued prayers and support,” Bamidele said.

He said he also came to seek spiritual blessings and benediction for the tasks ahead.

In his remarks, the church vicar, Ven. Oluwasola Adekola, said Bamidele’s victory was well-deserved based on his track records of performance in his previous political positions especially in the 9th Senate.

Adekola said the senator had brought dividends of democracy to the people of his senatorial district in the last four years.

He, therefore, prayed for more grace, God’s protection and wisdom for Bamidele to enable him perform more excellently in his second tenure in the senate.

Oba of Benin warns against election violence

By Ruona Isikeh

The Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, has cautioned politicians and other stakeholders in Nigeria against election violence.

Oba Ewuare II, gave the advice when the delegation of European Union Mission Long Term Observers monitoring the general elections paid him a visit in his palace on Sunday in Benin City, Edo.

Oba Ewuare II said: ”There is no point shedding blood or getting involved in violence, acts of impunity and other outrageous activities.”

He urged the electorate, politicians and other stakeholders in the elections to be well behaved, stressing that the Benin throne had been praying and working hard for peaceful polls in Nigeria.

The traditional ruler said: “We are expecting politicians and electorate to behave. We pray that the elections will be peaceful.

“We have been praying and working hard for peaceful elections. There is no point in shedding blood. So, we are optimistic.’

Addressing the Oba earlier, the Team Lead of the Mission, Jeroen De Vries, commended him for the privilege to receive the European Union delegation in his palace.

He said the delegation was in Nigeria on the invitation of the Federal Government to assess the conduct of the elections conforming to relevant laws in Nigeria and international norms.

The team lead also expressed optimism that the outcome of Nigeria’s general elections would bring in prosperity to Nigerian citizens.

He was accompanied by two other members of the European Union, Mashu Poulsen and Menyeneabasi Chuks.

It was reported that the Presidential and National Assembly elections were held nationwide on Saturday.

National collation of presidential election results to start by 6.00p.m. – INEC

By Emmanuel Oloniruha

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will begin the national collation of 2023 presidential election by Sunday 6pm.

Its Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this as he declared open the 2023 General Election National Collation Centre, on Sunday in Abuja.

Yakubu said that the commission expects that results from states would start arriving the national collation centre by 6.00 p.m.

“As we await the arrival of this State Coalition Officers for the Presidential Election (SCOPE), we will now take a break and resume at 6.00 p.m.

“We are certain that by 6.00p.m., one or two of the scopes will arrive with the results, so we begin the process of collation,” Yakubu said.

He said that as soon as the results arrived, the commission would commence the collation all days all nights.

Yakubu said the collation of the presidential election result would be done at four various levels, namely at the ward level, 774 local government and 36 states and FCT and finally at the national collation centre.

The INEC chairman said that thereafter the final results would be announced by him, who would serve as the National Returning Officer.

“Having set the ground rules from today the collation center is hereby declared open until the final determination of the 2023 presidential elections.

“During the course of proceedings, there may be interlude or adjournments. This will be announced by the returning officer as the need arises.

“As soon as any of the SCOPES arrives, the process of collection will begin.

“Once the process begins the collation center will be open all days and nights subject only to short breaks as may be announced by the returning officer.

Yakubu appealed to all political parties and media organisations to draw their figures only from the official results, released by the Commission as the only body constitutionally responsible for releasing official election figures.

He said that everything regarding the results collation and announcement would be done openly within the collation centre.

He said that another venue within International Conference Centre (ICC) had been prepared to handle news conference, not related to the results collation and announcement.

It was reported that Yakubu also set ground rules for the results collation process

INEC declares Kabba/Bunu/Ijumu Reps election inconclusive

By Stephen Adeleye

Reviews on 2019 poll have been positive - INEC Chairman

Prof. Mahmood Yakubu – INEC CHAIRMAN

The result of the Kabba/Bunu/Ijumu House of Representatives election has been declared inconclusive by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The Returning Officer, Dr Adams Baba, disclosed this at the collation centre in Kabba, Kogi on Sunday.

Baba said the declaration was due to the difference between the margin of winner and voided results in two polling units.

He said that the difference of the results between the winner, Mr Salman Idris of African Democratic Congress (ADC) and the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Kolawole Matthew, was less than the number of registered voters in the cancelled polling units.

“The ADC candidate polled 13,867 while the APC polled 13,605 leaving just 262 votes difference, whereas the number of PVC collected in the cancelled polling units of Iya in Otu ward, Kabba/Bunu LGA is 485 and Open Space polling unit in Egbeda ward of Ijumu LGA 100.

“The two figures added together is far higher that the 262 vote difference between the winner and the runner up,” he said.

It was reported that no date has been fixed for a  rerun election in the affected polling units.

Results Collation: Yiaga Africa tasks INEC on transparency

By Angela Atabo

Yiaga Africa has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to protect the transparency of the result collation process by ensuring easy access to the collation centres for accredited observers and party agents.

Yiaga Africa said this at its Watching The Vote (WTV)’s Situational Press Statement on the   Saturday’s Presidential Election jointly signed by Hussaini Abdu, Chairman, WTV Working Group and Samson Itodo, Executive Director.

Reading the document, Abdu called on INEC to provide clear communication on locations where the General Election did not hold and ensure the process was concluded in those locations before returns were made.

“Yiaga Africa expressed concerns about the unexplained delay in uploading polling unit results for the presidential election on the INEC Election Results Viewing Portal (IReV).

“As of 10 p.m, on election day, results for the presidential election were not uploaded on the INEC portal after voting and counting ended in several polling units.

“At 9:00 am on Feb. 26 ,INEC uploaded only 25,503 results for the presidential election on the INEC portal.

“The delay in uploading the results undermines public confidence in the results transmission process as it deviates from the guidelines for the elections and it failed to meet citizens expectations,” he said.

Abdu said that the failure of the IReV system, intended to enhance transparency, undermined public confidence in the process.

He said INEC should make publicly available all the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS ) accreditation data by polling unit, including the number of voters accredited by finger vs facial recognition.

He called on INEC to also protect the transparency of the result collation process by ensuring accredited observers and party agents were granted access to the collation centers.

Abdu called on INEC to strictly adhere to the provisions of the 2022 Electoral Act and INEC regulations and guidelines on the collation of results.

“As provided in Section 64 of the Act, collation officers and returning officers are required to compare the number of accredited voters and election results recorded on the hardcopy result sheet and scanned images on the BVAS.

“Yiaga Africa calls on INEC and security to ensure proper security for citizens especially the polling officials and collation officials as results collation progresses as INEC commences the announcement of results to ensure that no life is further lost in this elections,” he said.

Abdu said that Yiaga Africa deployed 3,836 observers throughout the country including 3,014 parallel vote tabulation (PVT) observers for the General Elections.

He said that the PVT methodology was also deployed to enable Yiaga Africa to independently assess the quality of the process and verify the accuracy of the official presidential election results announced by INEC.

“At this time, Yiaga Africa is able to provide preliminary statistically accurate data on the conduct of the election as of Feb.25 – from the opening of polling units through accreditation, voting and counting until the posting of results.

“If INEC’s results fall within Yiaga Africa’s estimated ranges, then the public, political parties and candidates should have confidence the official results reflect the ballots cast at the polling units.

“However, if the official results are manipulated at any point in the process we will be able to expose it, although only INEC has the legal mandate to announce the election results,” he said.

Collation of presidential election results to commence Sunday midday – INEC boss

By Emmanuel Oloniruha

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will commence the collation of 2023 presidential and parliamentary elections on Sunday at midday.

The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, announced this at a news conference on the 2023 general elections on Saturday in Abuja.

Yakubu said results were expected by the commission from the states starting from Sunday.

“I will like to invite you at midday tomorrow (Sunday) for the official opening of the National Innovation Centre for the 2023 general elections.

“We hope that by tomorrow, we expect to have some of the election results coming from states, particularly for the presidential election.

“So, the collation centre for the presidential election will open midday tomorrow,” Yakubu said.

He added that there won’t be need to address Nigerians before Sunday (Feb. 26), except if there was need to do so.

Violence: NLC expresses worry over attacks

By Joan Nwagwu

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has expressed worry over incidences of violence in some polling units and areas where activities of thugs are pronounced in Saturday’s general election.

Mr Joe Ajaero, the NLC President, said this in a statement on Saturday in Abuja, titled “Ons: INEC, where are the lessons learnt from previous elections?”

According to Ajaero, the report reaching us thus far from around the country is contrary to the high hopes which we have earlier had for today’s exercise.

“The experiences of yesterday ought to have prepared INEC to conduct a better election this year.

“We had hoped that voting materials would reach their destinations on time so that the various time frames would be strictly adhered to preventing the disenfranchisement of potential voters.

“Report reaching us paints a rather frightening picture that in many areas around the country, as late as 12 noon; voting materials were yet to get to the polling units.

“We are worried of the reports of manifest incidences of violence in some polling units and areas where activities of thugs are pronounced even in the presence of security agencies,’’ he said.

He also said INEC ought to ensure that voters perform their rights in secrecy to avoid exposing them to the violence that has been reported.

The NLC president said the sanctity of the ballot must be protected and this would not be the case if the Police and INEC officials failed to perform their duties to Nigerians.

Ajaero also said guidelines for voting must be followed to protect the rights of voters at the polling units guaranteeing that their choices remain private.

He added that this would build confidence and ensure large turnout in the election.

According to him, INEC must deal with the voter suppression and ballot box snatching that were recorded in some parts of the country.

“If voters are beaten at the Polling Units, the signal to other voters is to stay at home and not vote. This disenfranchises and is undemocratic thus unacceptable.

“It is important that INEC understands that this election is also a referendum on its capacity to conduct free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria.

“It should not therefore fail itself and Nigerians again but prove wrong those who have come to believe that it would be difficult for INEC to raise the bar in election conducts in Nigeria,’’ he stated.

Ajaero said there was no other institution that would be held responsible except INEC, if it failed to live up to the expectations of Nigerians.

He added that given the huge resources invested in it, the pivotal nature of this election and the enormous time they had in preparing for this cycle, much needed to be done.

He said that the commission’s experiences in election conduct must be brought to bear in this exercise to make it successful.

He said that the NLC would hold INEC directly responsible for all the anomalies associated with the election.

Ajaero therefore called on INEC to immediately sit up and correct what is happening.

“Their monitoring mechanism must swing into action and correct what is already being observed to avert what we are already observing in the field.

“If INEC gets it right, Nigeria will get it right. This election offers us such hope and INEC is at the centre of this hope,’’ he declared.

Buhari wins polling unit for Tinubu with 523 votes

By Ismaila Chafe

President Muhammadu Buhari has won his polling unit in Saturday’s presidential and parliamentary elections for the candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The APC presidential flagbearer, Sen. Bola Tinubu, won with 523 votes at the polling unit 003, Sarkin Yara A, Daura, Katsina State.

It was reported that the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, came second with three votes.

The candidates of the NNPP and Labour Party, Rabiu Kwankwaso and Peter Obi, recorded zero votes.

It was reported that the president, his wife, Aisha, as well as family members and staff also voted at the polling unit.

The president, who briefly spoke to newsmen after casting his vote, said: ”APC will win, from Daura to Lagos.’’

Candidates pass vote of confidence on INEC, security agencies

By Philip Yatai

Some candidates in the Feb. 25 Presidential and National Assembly elections in Kaura Local Government Area of Kaduna State have passed a vote of confidence on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for credible election.

The candidates also commended security agencies for displaying a high level of professionalism while providing security at polling units.

The candidates said in separate interviews with our reporter in Kagoro on Saturday said that the electoral body and security agencies have lived up to expectations.

Mr Donatus Mathew, contesting for Kaura Federal Constituency under Labour Party said that INEC had done a good job and must be commended.

Mathew said that the election was free and fair and was conducted in a conducive atmosphere without a hitch.

On his part, Mr Simon Na’Allah, also contesting the Kaura Federal Constituency under the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) equally described the election as “very peaceful”.

According to him, INEC and all the stakeholders have done remarkably well except for the acronyms of the NNPP and that of Labour Party that are missing in the ballot papers.

“INEC should please correct the anomaly before the Governorship and State Assembly Elections scheduled for March 11,” said.

Prof. Benjamin Gugong, contesting the Kaura Federal Constituency under the All Progressive Congress (APC), also applauded INEC for what he described as “nearly perfect” election.

“I am very impressed for the hitch-free and peaceful conduct of the election election,” he said.

Also, Mr Michael Auta contesting the Kaduna South Senatorial seat under the Labour Party also lauded INEC for a hitch-free exercise.

Auta particularly commended security agencies for keeping polling units secured and ensuring that no voter was harassed or intimidated.

“I think INEC and security agencies have done an impressive job and must be commended,” he said.

Shettima wins polling unit

By Hamza Suleiman

The Vice Presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), Sen. Kashim Shettima, has won his polling unit in Lawan Bukar Ward of Maiduguri.

It was reported that Shettima scored 126 votes out of the 156 total votes cast at the unit.

Atiku Abubakar of PDP scored 22 votes, while the remaining presidential candidates, including Peter Obi of Labour Party and Rabiu Kwankwaso of NNPP,  scored zero votes.

The Presiding Officer, Mr Suleiman Shehu, who announced the result, said eight ballot papers were invalid.

PDP will accept outcome in good faith- Tambuwal

By Muhammad Nasir

Gov. Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, the Director General of the People Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Council, has said the party will accept the outcome of elections with good faith.

Tambuwal, who spoke at his home town in Tambuwal Local Government Area on Saturday, said PDP believed in due process.

“We have the belief that the destiny of all mankind is from the Almighty and God give power to whom He wish.

“More so, the election, from the information we are getting, is going on peacefully without any rancour.

“This indicated that people are now fully ready and committed to elect leaders of their choice, which remain our mission and vision in PDP,“ he said.

On security, the governor appreciated the formation in the state, saying that the security agencies had exhibited patriotism toward the success of the process.

He called on the people to remain law abiding as the country required peace and peaceful coexistence to excel.

Tambuwal further appreciated the turnout of voters during the exercise, adding that the process was highly encouraging.

Thugs attack EFCC’s election monitoring teams in Abuja, Imo

By Isaac Aregbesola

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), says suspected political thugs attacked its team of operatives who were monitoring the ongoing Presidential and National Assembly elections in Bwari Area council of FCT.

The commission, in a statement on its social media pages, said  the operatives were attacked near the chief’s palace in Bwari.

It stated that the attack was sequel to the arrest of a man for allegedly masterminding a well-orchestrated vote-buying procedure at the polling unit situated at Science Primary School, Bwari.

“The team had arrested the suspect, said to be about 30 years old, and retrieved from him a list of beneficiaries he had already paid some money to, through an online banking app.

“It was at the point of moving the suspect away from the polling unit that the thugs attacked, smashing the windshield of the commission’s patrol van.”

It stated that after its operative responded by releasing warning shots, the thugs retreated into their hideouts before members of the Joint Task Force team comprising the Department of State Services, the Nigeria Police and others, Arrived the scene.

The anti-graft agency stated that the incident had been reported at the Bwari Police Station.

In a related development, another team of EFCC’s operatives “on election monitoring duty at Unit 001, Mann Primary School behind Cherubim junction was shot at by gunmen persons in two black Prado SUV’s and one white Hilux outside the polling unit, suspected to be buying votes.

The EFCC team responded, forcing them to flee the scene. The incident was formally reported to DCP Operations, Haruna Femi, at the Imo State Police Command.”

EFCC arrests lecturer, others for alleged vote-buying

By Isaac Aregbesola

Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), monitoring the Presidential and National Assembly polls, on Saturday, arrested a lecturer and other persons with cash meant for vote-buying.

The EFCC Spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, said this in a statement in Abuja.

According to him, among those arrested were Dr. Cletus Tyokyaa, a lecturer with the University of Agriculture Makurdi, Benue State.

Uwujaren said that Tyokyaa was reportedly arrested at the RCM Polling Unit in Daudu, Guma Local Government Area of the state with the sum of N306, 700 in various denominations stashed in his car.

He said that luck ran out on the suspect when he drove to the voting centre which was different from his polling unit and tried to run upon sighting operatives of the commission.

When asked about his mission at the center, Tyokyaa could not provide a coherent explanation, leading to arrest, and the search of his car revealed the money in various denominations

He was released after volunteering a statement to commission.

“The EFCC also arrested a man for alleged vote buying with N194,000 at Gidan Zakka polling unit, Goron Dutse area of Kano Municipal Local Government, Kano State.

“A party agent buying votes through bank transfers was also arrested in Abaji in the Federal Capital Territory, while two persons, Stanley Nsemo and Eno Amponsah were arrested in Calabar, Cross River State with the sum of 450 dollars and N156, 800 on suspicion of alleged vote buying.

“Earlier in the day, a woman with 18 voter cards, was intercepted in a sting operation at Badarwa area of Kaduna, Kaduna State.

“The woman, one Maryam Mamman Alhaji, who is a member of the support group of one of the leading political parties, also had in her possession, a 17-page list containing names of eligible voters, their bank details and phone numbers as accredited under Badarwa/Malali Ward 01 and 08, Kaduna North Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

“She was nabbed after undercover operatives pretended they had voter cards and were desperate to sell them.

“She is currently being grilled by operatives of the Kaduna Zonal Command of the EFCC, with a view to unravelling other members of her syndicate whom she claimed are also collecting voters’ cards and paying monies through PoS or direct bank transfers,” he said.

Governor Adeleke Votes at Ede, Commends New Electoral Act

By Bolaji Farinloye

Senator Ademola Adeleke, the Executive Governor of Osun State, casts his vote in Sagba/Abogunde Ward 2, Unit 9 for the current president and National Assembly elections.

After being accredited and having his vote verified by the BVAS machine, the Governor came at 8:42 and cast his ballots about 8:44.

Governor Adeleke took advantage of the occasion to hail the electoral act as a historic advancement in Nigeria’s democratic growth.

The State Governor, who was accompanied by family members, praised the electoral and security agencies for doing their jobs well, calling the voting process “speedy and efficient.”

“I voted, and as you can see, it was successful. We should be grateful for the Electoral Act’s contribution to improving our elections. Now, our votes matter.

“Once more, I want to applaud President Muhammadu Buhari for the bravery and patriotism he displayed in approving the bill. This law has made history.

“I urge our people to uphold peace and abstain from violence. Governor Adeleke stated, “Democracy is about thumbprinting your choice, not about killing and maiming.

Voting closes amid tight security at Tinubu’s polling unit

By Grace Alegba and Chinyere Omeire

Voting ended peacefully amid tight security on Saturday at Sen. Bola Tinubu’s Polling Unit in Lagos State.

Tinubu, the All Progressive Congress Presidential Candidate, voted at Polling Unit 085, Ward C, Alausa, Ikeja.

The tight security witnessed when he voted along with his wife, Olufemi, at 10.15 a.m., was sustained until the end of the election process.

A combined team of the police, Nigeria Security Civil Defence Corps and Nigeria Immigration Service,  kept tight security at the unit even after Tinubu and his wife left.

Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had visited the polling unit at 9.13 a.m. before arrival of INEC personnel and election materials.

INEC personnel began cancellation of unused ballot papers by 2:30 p.m.

They later sorted and counted ballots before announcing results.

Although the INEC personnel and materials arrived late at the polling unit (by 9:27 a.m.) they were idle after sometime, expecting more voters.

It was reported that there are 324  registered voters in the unit but only 43 voted.

Also, voting ended peacefully at 4.35 p.m. at Polling Unit 078, Ward F5 on Ilamose Estate, Okeafa, Oshodi-Isolo LGA of Lagos State.

It was reported that most voters in the unit waited for sorting and counting of votes.

A number of them expressed satisfaction at the conduct of the election but others decried absence of security operatives.

A businessman, Mr Chinedu Ogbonnaya, told our reporter that he was impressed at the peaceful and orderly  conduct of the voters without presence of security operatives.

Ogbonnaya, however, urged INEC to improve on mobilisation of security agents.

“In this Polling Unit 078, there was no security officer.

“Voters cooporated on their own and made sure that voting went smoothly,” he said.

Another voter, Mr Sunny Ewa, expressed disappointment at late arrival of INEC personnel and election materials at many polling units on the estate.

“There was no security officers at some polling units on Ilamose Estate, Okeafa, Oshodi-Isolo LGA.

“Result sheet was not brought at some units until a lot of pressure came from voters,” he alleged.

Ewa urged INEC to step up its game.

Miss Anita Oriade, who voted at Polling Unit 002 on the same estate, praised voters there for  orderliness in spite of absence of security operatives.

Naira note scarcity: Some voters lament inability to travel to their states

By Vivian Emoni

A cross-section of eligible voters in some areas of Abuja in the FCT on Saturday expressed regrets at their act of registering to vote in their home states.

This group of Nigerians, made up of water vendors and security guards, said they found their act to be regrettable with the biting scarcity of Naira notes.

It was reported that these water vendors and security guards said it deprived them of traveling to their states to cast their votes.

Malam Mohammed Abubakar, a security guard in the Jikwoyi area, complained bitterly that he regretted registering in Jigawa, which is several hundreds of kilometres away from the FCT.

“This Naira note scarcity has really dealt with me. All my plan just failed. I usually traveled to my village in Jigawa to cast my vote, but this year it did not work out for me.

“Due to this scarcity of Naira note, I could not travel. I even went to our motor pack in Nyanya to see if some travelers or drivers will listen to my plight and help me. But they refused.

“I have my Permanent Voter Card (PVC) with me, but I cannot use it. I feel very bad seeing people casting their vote and I am not among them,” he said.

Mr Adamu Ahmed, a water vendor and scavenger in Jikwoyi also, described as terrible and worst his experience in the 2023 elections.

Ahmed said his brother who lived in the Maitama area had promised to give him and his two brothers some money to travel to Adamawa to cast their votes.

“I called my brother who is also a Senator, on Monday to remind him of the promise, but he told me we should be patient till Wednesday. Meanwhile, he had made the promise since 2022 and we have always called to remind him.

“Early in the morning of that Wednesday his call woke me up around 3 a.m., and he said he did not have money to give us because of this Naira note scarcity. I felt highly disappointed,” he said.

A resident of Angwar Gede, Mr Isah Idris who is also a water vendor, said he was to travel earlier to Yobe before Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) commenced the implementation of the new Naira note policy.

“I could not make it because I was waiting for my customers to remit my money to me and that led to my staying behind because I can not travel there without money.

“Also, my truck that I am using to distribute water to my customers broke down, and that affected my daily income.

“I have three wives and 15 children in Yobe. I cannot travel without buying some relevant items my family will need. I also want to make sure I have enough money with me.

“Scarcity of the Naira note has really caused people a lot. This is the first time I did not vote. I always have my PVC. But this is not a good experience, it’s quite unfortunate,” he said.

Most of those who spoke with our reporter went on to call on the Federal Government to consider the plight of millions of Nigeria and ensure the release of more new Naira notes for circulation in the country.

BVAS initiative upgrades electoral process in Nigeria, says Yari

By Ishaq Zaki

Former Governor of Zamfara, Abdul’aziz Yari, has commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for introducing the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) in the country’s election process, saying it has upgraded the procedure.

Yari, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Zamfara West Senatorial District, made the commendation after casting his vote at Yelwa 2 polling unit in Talata-Mafara town, Talata-Mafara Local Government Area of the state on Saturday.

The former governor also commended INEC for creating more polling units, adding that the use of technology in electoral process would guarantee credible elections.

He explained that the creation of new polling units would also reduce congestion of voters during election, saying “as you can see, our polling unit that used to have large number of voters now has less people.

“This is because more polling units have been created, making the process less stressful. “These initiatives would definitely promote Nigeria’s electoral system.”

Yari also commended voters’ turnout and their peaceful conduct, saying “I am appealing to our people to remain law abiding and peaceful after the elections and even beyond.

“We shouldn’t allow anything that would distract our peace and stability.”

It was reported that the creation of new polling units by INEC has reduced decongestion in the Feb. 25 Presidential and National Assembly
elections, making the process less cumbersome.

About 1,000 PVCs dumped on roadside in Lagos

By Chiazo Ogbolu

More than 1,000 Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) registered in 2011 and 2018 were, on Saturday morning, seen on a roadside in Okota, Lagos State.

It is yet to be known who dumped the bag of cards on Ago Palace Way, Okota, and why.

Our correspondent, who witnessed the scene, reports that some citizens in the area who claimed that they did not have PVCs, gathered at the scene to check if they could find theirs.

However, to maintain order, some policemen in a patrol van intervened and took the bag and drove off.

The policemen later came with some of the cards and gave them to a man in the crowd to read out names on them.

They left after a while and returned later with a new set of cards which they also gave the man to call out the names of their owners.

About 10 people in the crowd collected their cards there.

The policemen eventually left with the remaining cards.

A trader, Mr Nnaemeka Mbanugo, told our correspondent that it was unfortunate that while some Nigerians willing to vote did not have PVC, a large number of the cards was dumped on a roadside.

He noted that the majority of the cards were for residents of Oshodi/Isolo council area of the state which Okota falls under.

“What happened this morning is unfortunate; we came out to see PVCs dumped on the road.

“These are not recent PVCs. I went to INEC office but unfortunately I could not get my PVC.

“If INEC had wanted to do it this way, it should have got some people to go round, a week before now, to distribute the cards instead of what we are seeing,” he said.

INEC clarifies provision of additional rows on results sheets

By Emmanuel Oloniruha

Reviews on 2019 poll have been positive - INEC Chairman

Prof. Mahmood Yakubu – INEC CHAIRMAN

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Saturday said the additional rows on its results sheets were to accommodate political parties the court compelled it to accommodate at the 11th hour.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu disclosed this while updating newsmen on the ongoing national election on Saturday in Abuja.

Yakubu said the clarification was necessary following the concerns raised by some of the political parties, particularly at the polling units during voting in the morning.

He said that some of the parties raised alarm that in some instances, the logo of the political parties were on the ballot papers but the acronym of the political parties were not on the result sheets.

He said  the process of producing result sheets was more complicated than the production of the ballot papers.

“For results sheets at PU level, they are polling unit specific and they are in several harmonised copies that the commission retain the first two top copies and then give each polling agent one copy, then one copy goes to the police.

“The process of producing the results is more complicated than the production of the ballot papers.

“So what we did on the result sheets was to provide two additional rows. The purpose of this two additional rows is to accommodate any political party that we may be compelled to accommodate on the ballot paper at 11 hour judicial pronouncement.

“So those two additional rows are supposed to take care of that eventuality.”

Yakubu said where you have a party on the ballot and the logo was not on the result sheets, that could actually be added to the result sheets in which rows had  been provided accordingly.

He said that presiding officers and collation agents were authorised to accept, satisfy and stamp the insertion of the political parties where this situation arose.

Yakubu also denied issuing letter to political party agents instead of accreditation tags.

He explained that INEC designed dedicated portal for political parties to nominate their agents but some failed to nominate the required number.

Yakubu said the decision of online nomination was made by the commission because political parties issued their own tags bearing only the logos of the party and the word agent written across the tags to their agents.

“In this case, anybody can claim to be the agent of any political party, resulting in some instances, commotion during collation where two or more agents will claim to represent a political party.

“That’s why we created the portal where they uploaded the names of the agents and the description of the party you are going to serve as agent as well as their photographs and this tags were laminated and delivered to the state.”

Yakubu said one of the parties drew our attention to a letter in one of the states, claimed to be issued by INEC in the absence of the accreditation tags.

“But officials have the knowledge of those agents because they were wearing the INEC accredited tags.

“I requested the gentleman to share a copy of that letter with me. He shared a copy of that letter, and it was clearly issued by his party when I drew his attention, he immediately deleted the message.”

He reiterated that INEC would not accept  political party agents not wearing INEC tags, to any of its results coalition centres.

“The commission will insist that only accredited party agents will be admitted into the collation centres.”

Voters transfer without notice causes confusion at polling unit

By Abiodun Azi

Elections: Party agents commend INEC for early arrival at polling unitsThere was a minor confusion at Ward F3 Polling Unit 13, Ago Palace Way, Okota, Lagos, as voters were transferred from their polling unit without notice.

Our correspondent reports that most of the voters were confused as they didn’t know where to vote.

INEC’s presiding officer at the unit, therefore, announced that its register had persons with alphabets A-N on its voters’ list.

According to him, if the voters’ surname do not fall between the stated alphabets, such people cannot vote at the polling unit.

A voter, Akabueze Uzorchukwu, described the development as wickedness.

Uzorchukwu said that he had been at the polling centre since 7.00 a.m., only to discover that the BVAS machine did not recognise his face.

He stated that his name was not even on the registration list, in spite of the fact that he registered at the polling unit.

Another voter, Funmilayo Ogunberu, said that her name was not in the register.

According to her, she does not know the polling centre she has been transferred to.

She faulted INEC for transferring voters without due notice.

Another voter, Miss Faith Isaac, said, however, that she did not register at the polling unit, but was transferred there.

Isaac stated that she received a text message on her phone with the details of where she was transferred to.

She said that most of the voters complaining of not knowing where they had been transferred to did not either have phone numbers, or they are no longer using the numbers they released during registration.

INEC living up to expectations – Sen. Bamidele

By Julius Toba-Jegede

The Senatorial candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) for Ekiti Central District, Sen. Opeyemi Bamidele, has given kudos to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for going ahead with the 2023 general elections in spite of initial challenges.

Bamidele gave the commendation in an interview with our reporter on Saturday, after casting his vote at Ward B, Ibedoyin Ward, Iyin Ekiti.

It was reported that the current Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, arrived at the Ward 003 at about 12 noon and voted by 12:27pm.

While describing the process of his accreditation and voting as smooth, he said that INEC deserved commendation for overcoming some initial obstacles on its way of carrying out the exercise.

He made allusion to the problems created by the introduction of new naira notes by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) few months to the general elections.

He said that initial challenges of non-functional BVAS in some parts of his senatorial district were corrected by INEC, thereby making the process hitch-free.

“We give God the glory that this election is even holding today. This election is holding today against the backdrops of daunting challenges in our country; owing to certain policies of government, especially through the CBN.

“But we’re happy that people refused to be pushed to violence and everybody worked hard to prevent the eventual breakdown of law and order.

“This is an election that would have been enmeshed in crisis due to recent development, but we’re happy that the election is holding.

“I took my time before coming out to vote, I came here after 12 noon because I needed to touch base with different parts of my senatorial district and different parts of the state.

“With respect to my senatorial district, what I gathered from various reports from the field is that the turnout of voters has been impressive and secondly INEC has lived up to expectations.

“This is without prejudice to the fact that there were initial challenges in some parts of the polling units including my own polling unit where in the first one and half hours the BVAS machines were not working, but they were later fixed.

“As you can see, voting is going on without any hitch. My hope is that what we’re witnessing here is also what is happening in other parts of the country.

“The electioneering process is peaceful, smooth, fair and credible. And, I know that at the end of the day votes of Nigerians will count. By the grace of God, I look forward to a victorious outing that will give me an opportunity of a renewed mandate to go back to the Senate to serve my people.

“I also pray that through this process, the best will emerge for our own country at all levels of governance; in respect of the three positions that are being contested for today. If we have the right person as the president and right people in the Senate, Nigeria will move forward,” he said.

Also, Mr Ayodele Adetilewa, the Assistant Presiding Officer (APO 1), at the polling unit, described the process as hitch-free.

He said that electoral materials reached the venue at scheduled time, while there were no cases of thuggery and disturbances.

It was further reported that Bamidele,  who is the Chairman of the Southern Senators’ Forum of the 9th Senate, was accompanied to the voting venue by his wife, Yemisi and members of his immediate family.

Stakeholders in Taraba laud speed of BVAS

By Gabriel Yough

Political stakeholders in Taraba on Saturday lauded the efficiency and speed of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) technology deployed by INEC.

Gov Darius Ishaku, who voted at his polling Unit PU 004 in Takum at about 12:20 p.m. lauded the speed of the device.

Ishaku, who is the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Taraba South Senatorial District, however, appealed to INEC to extend the voting time in the locality following the incident of missing electoral results sheets, which delayed the commencement of voting in the area.

“I appeal to the INEC to extend the voting time in Takum to enable voters in areas where electoral materials arrived late to exercise their franchise.

“We had hitches regarding the distribution of election materials and it was sorted out late.

“Most areas received their voting materials late and I want to appeal to INEC to extend the voting time beyond 2 p.m.,” he said.

Mr Usman Abdullahi, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Taraba Command, confirmed the missing results but said the issue was later resolved.

“Presidential and National Assembly election results form ECE8 were declared missing in Takum, forcing security agencies to recall all vehicles, which left to various wards in Takum Local government area to return to Takum late last night to sort out the missing result sheets.

“The election result sheets were declared missing and the Electoral Officer was held in custody, but the result sheets were later found,” he said.

Mr Danjuma Shidi, the Taraba South Senatorial Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who voted in Wukari also praised the BVAS device, saying it was going to change the game for those that specialise in election rigging.

Shidi expressed confidence that though his candidacy was still being challenged at the Supreme Court by Mr David Jimkuta, the APC would defeat the incumbent governor, who is the senatorial candidate of the PDP.

Also, Retired Lt. Col. Kefas Agbu, the PDP governorship candidate in Taraba, who voted in his home town Wukari, hailed the efficiency of the BVAS machine.

He commended the voter turnout in the area and expressed confidence that his party would emerge victorious.

NNPP condemns INEC over spelling error, logo of party

By Mujidat Oyewole

The New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) has condemned the error made by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in omitting the party’s name on Saturday polls ballot papers.

Prof. Shuaibu Oba-AbdulRaheem, the Kwara gubernatorial candidate of NNPP, expressed the dissatisfaction in an interview with our reporter in llorin on Saturday.

He alleged that INEC erred on the name of the party and the logo of NNPP.

The governorship candidate however said that the beginning of the exercise was very smooth.

Oba-AbdulRaheem noted with pleasure the large turnout of voters, with their eagerness to exercise their voting rights, but frowned at the mistake made on the ballot paper, in terms of name and party logo.

“NNPP logo appeared very blurred and the name of the party is not the same.

“It is possible that people who can read are looking for the name NNPP but cannot find it and may not actually know the logo.

“The only people that have advantage are those that knows the logo, but cannot see the name of the party beside it,” he said.

Oba-AbdulRaheem said that it was likely for the error to raise a very important national issue, describing it as “a very stupid, irresponsible error on the part of INEC”.

“They should have attached somebody to crosscheck such significant steps taken, but the way it is, we will look at the reaction of the party,” he said.

The gubernatorial candidate however said that two other parties also have issues with their logos appearing blurred on the ballot papers.

“I expect that the people at the national headquarters will take it up with INEC and call their attention to the mistake and know if such mistake can be corrected.

“People have the right to petition, as this is an election, even though it appears very peaceful, the mistake made could cost the nation a very big embarrassment,” he explained.

On his part, the Kwara Central Senatorial candidate of NNPP, Alhaji Abdul Ayelabegan, told ou reporter that INEC has committed a “monumental error”.

Ayelabegan said that in conducting a very valuable presidential election in Nigeria, many people all over the world await the outcome.

“The name of a very popular candidate is not included, that is NNPP, and the remaining part of the logo is blurry, invariably the party is not ably represented on the ballot paper.

“This means that if NNPP win the election, other party may go to tribunal and challenge the result that the party is not ably represented on the ballot paper,” he said.

BVAS fails to recognise my face, fingerprint – Lamido

By Muhammad Nasir Bashir

Former Governor of Jigawa, Sule Lamido has expressed worried over the inability of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) to recognise his face and fingerprint in the presidential and National Assembly elections.

Lamido said this after he was asked to come back later and try after the machine failed to accredit him at Bamaina Primary School III polling unit, in Bamaina, his country home on Saturday.

“To be sincere to you, I haven’t cast my vote up till now after giving my PVC to the election officials for accreditation.

“The BVAS could neither recognise my face nor my fingerprint after trying about four to five times.

“But I will come back later whether the machine might be able to recognise my face or fingerprint,” Lamido said.

He, however, acknowledged the the BVAS’ failure to accredit him as human error, adding that, “in all human endeavours, there must be one problem or another.

“In all human endeavours, there is problem here and there, it is a human error and there is no way INEC can be perfect 100 per cent, it is not possible, it is a human lapse and I do understand that”.

On chances of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) wining the election, the former governor said: “Why do you form a political party, to loose, is that the purpose”.

According to him, the PDP has campaigned and went round to canvass for votes and that it has done a lot in the state (Jigawa), has political history and legacy.

Lamido, therefore, said it was voters that will do the ultimate judgement by voting their choice.

Also, asked about level of development attained so far after 24 years of democracy, he noted that it takes time and every election comes with its own challenges, which lessons are learnt from it.

“And I’m sure if you look back at where we were 24 years ago, there is much development, we are improving and democracy takes time, patience, tolerance, discipline and commitment to develop,” he said..

Also asked on impact of the current cash crunch and naira redesign on the electoral process, Lamido said: “What has cash got to do with elections, election is one thing and social life is another, they’re two different things.

“You see, we are a country governed by law and order, there was an election and a party called APC formed a government. So the policy of APC in government is their own policy not mine.

“It is a policy for all Nigerians because they are the government which Nigerian people voted for. So if people are suffering, it is out of their own choice”.

The former governor, however, said there is a hope in Nigeria and the younger generation believe in the nation.

“There is hope in Nigeria, I’m old and gradually we retire and the younger generation will take over.

“And I see vibrancy, I see expectations in the younger generation, their eyes are sparkling because they believe in Nigeria and have future in Nigeria”.

FG warns against posting unverified election results

By Rotimi Ijikanmi

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has admonished Nigerians to resist the temptation of posting or sharing unverified election results on social media.

The minister gave the admonition on Saturday in his home town, Oro, near Ilorin after casting his vote in the Presidential and National Assembly Elections.

It was reported that the minister voted at Polling Unit 006, Oro Ward 2 in Irepodun Local Government Area of Kwara.

Mohammed who arrived at the polling unit at about 10.05 a.m. joined the queue, waited till about 11.15 a.m. (about one hour thirty minutes) before exercising his franchise.

Speaking with newsmen after voting, the minister appealed to media houses to act responsibly in publishing or broadcasting election results.

“You don’t have to post election results without checking the source and the best way and most authentic is to hear from INEC

“The media houses should abide by the National Broadcasting Commission’s regulations regarding the announcement of election results.

“What we have noticed in the past 20 years is that election violence does not start during voting but it is at the point of collation or announcement of results that violence starts.

“False news is a fuel of this kind of violence because if you post false results from a particular unit and it is at variance with the authentic result by INEC, that would lead to violence,’’ he said.

Mohammed enjoined eligible voters and party agents to wait patiently until the presiding officer announced results and they should cross-checked same before transmission.

He said that party agents should be vigilant and show a lot of responsibility.

Speaking on how the election went in his polling unit, the minister said the process was peaceful, there was massive turn-out of voters and he was satisfied.

“What struck me most is the turn-out, the young, old, strong, the physically challenged men and women, they all came out to cast their votes.

“You can see the determination and resolve on their faces in an atmosphere of conviviality.

“I hope that it will be the same atmosphere and ambience in every other polling units,’’ he said.

It was observed a huge turn-out of voters at the unit, particularly youths from age 18 to 22 who came to exercise their voting right for the first time.

One of them, Eric Ogala from Anambra, but schooling in University of Ilorin and living with his parents in Oro said he felt fulfilled attaining voting age and casting his vote for the first time.

“So far, so good the process has been peaceful and different from the news of election violence and bloodshed we do hear when I was growing up,’’ he said.

An 85-year-old Mrs Felicia Otuneye also commended the peaceful process of the election and the preference given to her to vote immediately she got to the polling unit by the electoral officers.

APC Rep candidate decries faulty BVAS in Lagos

By Taiye Olayemi, Rukayat Adeyemi and Lydia Ngwakwe

Mr Moshood Oshun, All Progressives Congress (APC) Candidate for Lagos Mainland Federal Constituency, on Saturday decried the malfunctioning of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS).

Oshun, at ward 008, polling unit 03, National Primary School, Abule Ijesha, Yaba, said that in spite arriving the place at 8.30 a.m, he had not been able to cast his vote due to the challenge.

According to him, he spoke with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials on ground while waiting for their engineers to fix the BVAS.

“The BVAS is not working, people are getting frustrated and you can see I have been trying to calm them down but you know, there is a limit to people’s patience.

“I got here at 8.30 a.m and till now, I have not cast my vote. Some people are tired of waiting and are leaving for their homes, some have been shouting and fighting,” he said.

The APC candidate urged INEC to intensify efforts to forestall future occurrence, especially during the gubernatorial elections in March.

“I want to seize this opportunity to call on INEC to be fully ready for the electorate during the March 11 gubernatorial elections; it is really frustrating and sad,” he said.

It was reported that some other polling units within Yaba experienced similar challenges like late arrival of election materials and BVAS malfunctioning.

Our correspondent also reports that there were presence of security personnel to avoid any crisis.

Don’t complain if you didn’t vote, legislator tells youths

By Itohan Abaralaserian

Rasheed Makinde, a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, has said that qualified youths who did not vote on Saturday have no cause to complain afterwards.

Makinde made this known in an interview with our reporter as he waited to cast his vote on Saturday at Polling Unit 23, Ward 02, Ifako-Ijaiye Local Government Area.

He expressed displeasure with youths who chose to play on the streets while elections were ongoing.

The legislator, however, said that the voting trend had improved remarkably as more Nigerians were educated on performing their civic rights.

”Playing on the street during election has been the tradition in this part of the world where we are supposed to perform our civic responsibility.

”I think the situation now, is, however, far better than before. We need more of our youth and Nigerians in general to be more educated in the electioneering process.

”They need to be conversant with the benefits of engaging in the electioneering process, because if you do not vote, you do not have any right to complain,” he said.

Speaking on his expectations, Makinde said: ” It is my expectation that the party of my choice, APC, will win.

”Also, I hope there will be no violence. Take for instance how peaceful it is here, it shows the level of awareness, accommodation and maturity of everybody, regardless of tribe.

”This is a sign that we are going to have a better Nigeria and our hope is still alive,” Makinde said.

The Assemblyman also told our reporter that the turnout of the electorate was impressive, and there were indications that the new method of registration by INEC was effective.

INEC loses 8 BVAS to thugs, recovers 3

By Emmanuel Oloniruha

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says eight of its Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) were snatched by thugs in Delta and Katsina States in the ongoing presidential and National Assembly elections.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this while briefing newsmen on the ongoing general elections on Saturday in Abuja.

He, however said that the snatched BVAS were immediately replaced for the election to continue, while three were later recovered by security agencies.

“Based on the reports we have received from our offices, there have been some challenges in the process.

“One of the challenges is the inability of the commission in some locations to open the polling units at 8:30am.

“Some of the reasons for this include the perennial problem of logistics in spite of our best efforts.

“Generally speaking, we have delivered hundreds of ballot papers and result sheets that we were supposed to deliver.

“For instance, we couldn’t deploy early in Alawa in Shiroro LGA of Niger State because bandits launched an attack, not necessarily on INEC officials, within the area.

“So, on the advice of security agencies we tarried awhile and I’m happy to say that we are able to deploy and voting in that location is ongoing as we speak.“

Yakubu said that similarly in Oshimili local government area of Delta, thugs attacked polling units during which two BVAS machines were lost.

“Again, determined that election must continue, we were able to replace the stolen machines, restore security and voting continued in that location.

“Similarly, in Safana LG area of Katsina state, thugs attacked one voting location and snatched six of our BVAS machines.

“But again, we were able to use the spare BVAS machines and restore security for voting to continue.

“The security agencies have recovered three BVAS machines, but three are still held by the thugs.

“In these locations, the target of attacks were the BVAS machines. It is no longer the ballot boxes,” Yakubu siad.

On the functionality of BVAS, the INEC chairman said that the device has been performing optimally.

“So far so good; generally speaking, the BVAS deployed nationwide for the first time has been functioning optimally in most parts of the country.

“We are hearing less complaints about the functionality of the BVAS.”

He linked the inability to commence election at 8.30am in some polling units to perennial problem of logistics and insecurity.

Yakubu, however, assured Nigerians that no voter would be disenfranchised because of that.

“Based on the reports that are received from the various states of the federation and our office in the Federal Capital Territory, some challenges were identified.

“One of which is the inability of the commission in a number of places to open the poll units at the appointment of 8:30am.

“Some of the polling units opened late, but in line with our policy any Nigerian on the queue will have the opportunity to vote no matter how long it takes, until the last on the queue before 2.30pm votes, no matter how long it takes.”

Yakubu added that the perennial problem of logistics and security challenges also led to late commencement of voting in some places

He said that the security challenges include thugs attack in Delta and Katsina states and banditry in Niger.

He said there were also unfolding situations in Abia and Imo states.

“In Abia, the deployment is taking place late to the polling units.

“The commission is aware and we are assuring voters in Abia that no matter how late we deploy to the polling units, if voters are on the queue before 2:30pm, they will vote no matter how long it takes.

“We are also aware of the situation in Imo, in respect of four LGAs — Okigwe, Oguta, Osu, and Olu.

“There were issues in all 11 wards in the whole of Osu. In the whole of Orlu, six wards out of 11. In the case of Okigwe, five wards out of 11. In the case of Oguta, it is more widespread,” Yakubu added.

Yakubu said that he had a discussion with the Inspector-General of Police and the military to escort INEC officials to all the four locations.

“I take it that voting would have commenced in some of these difficult places.

“But if it doesn’t, I will assure voters in those locations that elections will hold and they will not be disenfranchised.”

Yakubu said that INEC have been observing and receiving reports on the election nationwide and was determined to ensure that the elections held and are credible.

He said that the commission would continue to brief Nigerians on the elections, until collation of results commenced.

It was reported that the INEC Chairman is expected to brief newsmen again at 4pm.

Ayu urges candidates to accept election result in good faith

By Nicholas Dechi

Dr Iyorchia Ayu

Sen. Iyorchia Ayu, the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has appealed to all candidates in the 2023 general election to accept the outcome in good faith.

Ayu stated this when he spoke with newsmen after casting his vote at Mkovur Market in Ipav, Gboko Local Government (LGA) of Benue.

The national chairman said that it behooved on all well-meaning Nigerians to ensure that democracy thrived.

“As a democrat and advocate of peace, I want democracy to flourish in Nigeria,” Ayu said.

He commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for doing a good job, saying that there was a noticeable improvement over previous elections.

He expressed optimism that the PDP would emerge victorious in the poll.

He called on supporters of the PDP to be calm and law abiding as they awaited for the outcome of the election.

Also, an Election Observer and the National Coordinator, Jireh Doo Foundation, Mrs Josephine Haba, lamented late arrival of election materials at some polling units in the state.

Haba said that she went round and saw that some polling units had no materials, the electorate was left confused, said that she got same reports from other local government areas of the state.

“The electorate came to the polling units as early as 8.30am but it is unfortunate that the election started around 11am in some, 12 noon and some 1.30pm.

“So, in order not to disenfranchise the electorate, INEC should extend the voting time to enable all those on queue to exercise their franchise,” Haba said.

Umahi rates INEC high, says Ebonyi votes will count

By Chukwuemeka Opara

Umahi appeals to I-G to suspend operation 'Puff Adder' implementation in Ebonyi

Governor Dave Umahi

Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi on Saturday scored the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) high for a “precise’ conduct of the presidential and national assembly elections in the state.

Umahi, after casting his vote at the Onuofukuru Market Square polling unit at Uburu in the Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi, said INEC’s “wonderful job” would ensure Ebonyi people’s votes counted.

“INEC has perfected the voting process and it will be impossible to rig the elections.

“I also score the security agencies high as we have recorded minimal infractions,” he said.

The governor reiterated his directive that vehicles, motorcycles and tricycles should not be seen within 100 metres of any polling unit.

“I parked my vehicle within 200m of this polling unit in adherence to this directive.

“This measure will check hoodlums who operate on motorcycles to wreck havoc.

“The security agencies are aware of this and they have performed creditably,” he said.

Umahi described elections in the state as peaceful based on the reports he had received, noting that people were freely casting their votes.

“Ebonyi will be an example for other states to emulate and we are proud of that,” he said.

We’re voting for better Nigeria — PWDs

By Douglas Okoro

Two physically challenged persons, Mr Isaac Okoro and Mrs Ifunanya Elom, said on Saturday that they were voting in the general elections as their contribution toward enthroning a better Nigeria.

The duo who spoke to our correspondent in separate interviews on in Abakaliki expressed hopes that the election would mark a turning point in the nation’s electoral history.

They commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for pledging to conduct a credible election.

Okoro, a 30-year-old person living with disability (PWD), said he had come to vote for a better Nigeria, adding that the exercise was his first time of voting.

Okoro who registered at the Enugwu-Ukwu Hall, Polling Unit (PU) 004, Kpiri-kpiri ward in Ebonyi Local Government Area of the state said he was optimistic that the election would be free and fair.

“I am 30 years old. This is my first time of voting; this is my voter card and I am here to vote for a better Nigeria.

“I am happy with the arrangements INEC has put in place to ensure that the voting process is peaceful and orderly at the Enugwu-Ukwu Hall Polling Unit (PU) 004,” Okoro said.

Another PWD, a 50 year-old Mrs Elom, who voted at Presco Secondary School Polling Unit 007 in Echieba ward, Ebonyi LGA at 9 a.m commended INEC for putting adequate preparation in place.

“I’m visually impaired and I was brought to the polling unit by my daughter to cast my vote.

“I have voted because when I came the INEC officials gave me preferential treatment because of my special condition.

“I am confident that my vote and the votes of other millions of Nigerians will count in this election; also the best presidential candidate will emerge at the end,” Elom said.

Meanwhile 70-year old Mr Friday Esom, said he was enthusiastic to cast his ballot stressing that it was his civic responsibility to vote in the election.

Esom, who voted around 9:30 a.m at the Enugwu-Ukwu hall, polling unit 004 expressed the hope that the outcome of the presidential election would lead to a better and prosperous nation.

“It is my civic duty to vote and that is why I have come out too. I came here as early as 7 a.m because we were told that voting will begin by 8:30 a.m.

“I am happy that I waited and was able to vote for candidates of my choice in both the presidential and national assembly elections,” Esom said.

Another elderly voter, a 79 year-old Mrs Comfort Obiegbunem, said it was unfortunate that her name was missing from the INEC’s voting register at polling unit 005, in Kpiri-kpiri ward, Ebonyi LGA.

She explained that she participated in the mock election held some weeks ago at the same polling unit and wondered why her name would be missing out in the real election.

The septuagenarian insisted that the officials would accredit her to exercise her franchise.

“Let them find my name; I want to vote, this election is very critical and important to me and I will pray for a peaceful exercise in this polling booth,” Obiegbunem said.

Meanwhile, our correspondent reports that voting started behind schedule in all the polling booths visited within the Abakaliki metropolis.

It was observed that many prospective voters could not find their names in the INEC registers within the polling units visited.

Miss Juliet Ovuta, a presiding officer (PO) at polling unit 004, Enugwu-Ukwu Hall, Kpiri-kpiri explained that the names of some of the voters were transferred to the newly created polling units.

“Accreditation started earlier and voting had started.Those whose names are not in our register in this polling unit have been asked to check elsewhere at polling units carved out of this polling unit.

“Our bimodal voter accreditation system (BVAS) machines are working perfectly and voting is going on orderly,” Ovuta said.

Elections: Hawkers, food vendors decry low patronage

Hawkers and food vendors at various polling units in Asokoro and Maitama on Saturday decried poor patronage from voters.

The sellers said that in spite of the delay in arrival of INEC officials and election materials in some polling units, patronage of the vendors was low.

Mrs Blessing Ekpe, a carbonated drink and sachet water seller blamed the situation on scarcity of cash.

“This cashless policy has affected the availability of cash, thereby causing us poor patronage.

“I always sell drinks and snacks during elections because people will be thirsty and are far from their homes.

“In previous elections, I made at least N15, 000 to N20,000 at the polling units selling drinks and snacks but this time the sales are poor as people complain of no cash.

“In spite of the hot weather, the sales have been very poor”, she said.

Similarly, Mrs Rose Danjuma, a petty trader at Primary Health care Centre Kobi, Asokoro, said the poor internet connection contributed to the poor sales.

“The network is poor and has made it difficult for customers to transfer money.

“I have been here since 7 a.m. and have only sold few items to customers that had little cash or were able to transfer successfully,” she said.

Also, Mrs Aminat Moshood, said due to the poor sales, she sold to only persons she knew would later transfer the money to her account.

hmed said.

“The situation has compelled me to sell via electronic transfer to only the people that I know and can easily locate in the event the transaction fails”, she said.

Mrs Sharon Ahmed, a food vendor in Maitama said that most people do not have the cash to buy soft drinks and snacks in spite of the hot weather.

“Some people want to buy cold drinks and transfer money, but the bank apps are not functioning well. This has led to low patronage unlike previous elections.

“I am not happy because I paid the truck that brought my stuff and if I did not sell most of the drinks then I will need to pay to take them back”, A

Hauwa Sulemain, said the business was not going as expected because some of the people that want to buy things are complaining of naira scarcity.

“I also noticed that most people came with their water and snacks, so they are not even showing interest in buying”, the vendor said.

An electorate, Mr Gbemiga Onadiran, urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to make the cash available to Nigerians to alleviate the plight.

“I arrived here since 8 a.m. and now the weather is getting hotter, but I cannot buy water or anything because I don’t have cash.

“Besides, some of the petty traders do not have bank accounts.

“The policy is good but the implementation needs to be reviewed so that while we embrace the cashless policy we will have some cash to spend’’, he said.

81-year-old visually impaired retired soldier urges peaceful transition

An 81-year-old visually impaired retired soldier, Mr Michael Arogunmola, has appealed for a peaceful democratic transition.

Arogunmola made the appeal in an interview with our reporter on Saturday after voting at Ward 10, Unit 121 in Ifako-Ijaiye Constituency, in the Presidential and National Assembly Elections.

He said that his love for democracy had been motivating him to participate in elections.

Arogunmola expressed delight for being alive and healthy to be part of the 2023 General Elections.

He said, “I feel exceedingly great today that I am voting because I have always liked democracy.

“I am part of the soldiers that fought during the civil war, and it was not a palatable experience.  I don’t want it to happen again.”

Arogunmola also urged the youth to be focused, hardworking and honest in all their dealings.

Similarly, an 81-year-old retired staff of NITEL, Mrs Kemi Rabiu, described the turnout and conduct of voters as impressive.

“INEC personnel have been are on ground, they have educated us on the procedure and, as you can see, everywhere is peaceful. Voters have come out in their large number and are eager to exercise their rights,” she said.

Rabiu urged the next administration to give priority attention to the youths through employment.

According to her, some university graduates are doing odd jobs and being identified as miscreants due to a lack of unemployment opportunities.

The visually impaired octogenarians were among hundreds of voters at the unit.

INEC arrives Ibafo, Ogun polling unit at 12:45 PM

According to report reaching NEWSVERGE, the officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) just arrived at the Sefu Elelede polling unit, Ibafo area of Ogun State.

Ganduje votes, says BVAS ‘ll enhance credibility of electoral process

By Muhammad Nur Tijani

Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State says the introduction of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will enhance the credibility of the 2023 general election.

He said this on Saturday shortly after casting his vote at Cikin-Gari Ward, Unit 008 at Ganduje in Dawakin-Tofa Local Government Area of the state.

Ganduje noted that the measure was one of the innovations toward achieving sustainable electoral reforms to accelerate national development.

The governor said that INEC had taken elections to the next level with the introduction of BVAS, adding that he was satisfied with the conduct of the electorate and the exercise by INEC.

“I am impressed with the prompt commencement of the exercise in the area, as well as the peaceful conduct of voters,” he said.

Ganduje, however, noted that the accreditation was slow, but expressed optimism that the exercise would pickup before the end of the day.

He also expressed hope that the peaceful and large turnout of the electorate and adequate security arrangements that characterised the exercise so far would be sustained to ensure that it ended peacefully.

The governor also urged the electorate to turn out en masse during the March 11 Governorship and State Assembly election.

It was reported that the Gove cast his vote at about 9:55 am.

INEC staff, election materials yet to arrive Mararaba polling units

By Blessing Ibegbu

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) staff and materials are yet to arrive some polling units in Mararaba junction.

It was observed that as at 10:25 a.m., voters were waiting to receive INEC officials and materials, to commence voting procedures.

The affected polling units include; polling unit (PU) 105(Heart Plaza), 107 (Angwan Gwari and 101 (Primary Health Care centre).

However, as at the time of filing this report, some INEC official just arrived and mounting their canopies in readiness to start voting process at PU 008 and 136.

Our correspondent observed that security officials were seen at some strategic location ensuring strict compliance of law and order before the election.

Some of the security agencies include the Police, Army, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp (NSCDC), FRSC, among others.

Also, hawkers and petty traders were seen around making great sales as they were patronised by voters who turned out in their large numbers.

Faleke insists on joining queue to vote

By Olanrewaju Akojede

Hon. James Faleke, representing Ikeja Federal Constituency on Saturday refused all entreaties to be the recipient of VIP treatment when he went to cast his vote at the Ojodu polling unit.

Rather, he opted to join the queue like any other voter and patiently wait for his turn to be accredited and vote.

It was reported that Faleke arrived at the Polling Unit 02, Ikeja Local Government 11, Ojodu at 10:20a.m to cast his vote.

He was recognised by the INEC supervisor at the polling unit and asked to go forward, but he rejected the offer, saying, “voting is a civic right”.

He then joined the queue for the elderly who are above 60 years of age to wait for his turn to vote.

“I am fine. You know I represent them, and I have to lead by example. Let me stay in the queue,” he said.

Speaking on the sidelines of voting, Faleke said the election process was commendable.

“I am glad to see the peaceful conduct of the election. The turnout is impressive and the Bimodal Voting System (BVAS) worked well here. It took just a few minutes.

“I am expecting victory at the end of the day,” he said.

It was reported that Faleke had before joining the queue, visited some residents in the neighborhood encouraging them to come out and vote.

The elections at Ojodu 02, were peaceful and the turnout of voters was impressive with the presence of security officials evident.

The accreditation started as early as 9.a.m.

Angry youths attack journalists, voters in Ibadan

By Wale Sadeeq

Some angry youths, on Saturday, attacked voters and the journalists covering the presidential and National Assembly elections at Liberty area of Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

It was reported that the youths attacked the vehicles passing through Liberty-Oke Ado road, particularly those on election duties.

One of the vehicles attacked by the youths was occupied by media crew members who were moving around the city to monitor the election.

The youths lamented the hardship they were experiencing due to the current scarcity of fuel and new naira notes, saying that government should have addressed the problem before talking about election.

However, they were later prevailed upon to sheath their sword and not engaging in any act capable of derailing the smooth conduct of the election.

Meanwhile, the Deputy National Chairman (South) of Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Taofeek Arapaja, has condemned the action of the youth.

He advised them against venting their anger on innocent citizens, particularly journalists who were doing their legitimate duties.

Arapaja noted that the current state of the nation affected virtually everybody and that there should be no reason for one to be attacking the other.

“Although anything affecting the livelihood and wellbeing of the people is likely to affect the electoral process but what can we do?

“However, I don’t know why our people are venting their anger on the journalists who are doing their legitimate duties. They are are part of us and are also expressing what the electorate are expressing.

“I don’t know why they should be attacked?

“They shouldn’t be attacked but you know our people, when they are angry and want to show their anger, they can start burning houses and doing all sorts of things.

“I think people are so pained, frustrated and that’s why we’re are experiencing this,” he said.

Meanwhile, At Ibadan North ward 3, unit 36, Yemetu Oja, the officials arrived at 10.10 a.m. while officials for polingunit 60 within the same location had yet to arrive.

The Presiding Officer, Abosede Akinade, attributed the delay to INEC not releasing the election materials to them on time.

Akinade expressed optimism that they would meet up with the voting deadline.

A voter, Alhaji Kamil Omotosho, blamed INEC for what he called inadequate planning, ahead of the election, advised the commission to correct whatever anomalies before the March 11 governorship election.

Absence of INEC officials, election materials delay voting in Imo

By Sam Oditah

Voters in Owerri West and North Local Government Areas of Imo have expressed worry over the absence of officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and voting materials at the various polling centres in the state.

Our correspondent monitoring the polls report that there was large turnout of voters at the various polling units visited but voting could not begin as at 8.30am as scheduled by INEC.

Some of the voters interviewed at the polling centres expressed frustration and disappointment over the development.

They decried the failure by INEC to ensure timely distribution of materials to ensure timely commencement of the elections.

At Orie Uratta polling unit, a voter, Mrs Onyinyechi Iwunze, said that while the INEC officials had arrived at the Owerri North Local Government headquarters, officials were yet to arrive with voting materials at the polling units in Ward 12.

In Ward 006, Health Centre, Ihiagwa, Mrs Peace Iwuagwu, also lamented the delay in the arrival of officials and materials at the centre.

At Aladimma Ward 1, polling units at Aladimma Primary School and Aladimma Police Station in Owerri Municipal, voters were seen waiting for both INEC officials and materials as at 9:27 am.

Also, at Polling Units 006 and 002, Central School Omuma, Oru East Local Government Area, there were no election officials and materials as at 10.54am, when NAN visited the centre.

Speaking on the development, Rev. Fr. Kenneth Agwaigbo, a native of Omuma, who said he traveled down from St. Joseph Major Seminary, Ikot Ekpene, to be able to vote,  expressed concern over the absence of INEC officials and materials.

“As a citizen, I left my seminary yesterday to come and exercise my right to vote.

“I took the risk, in spite of cash crunch and fuel scarcity.

“Objectively, the elections are yet to hold here.

“I have not seen any sign of election starting now maybe due to one problem or the other.

“Hopefully, they will still come because I know government prepared adequately for the election,” the cleric said.

At Polling Unit 010, Ozuh Umuokpala Omuma, where Gov. Hope Uzodimma was expected to vote, there were no presence of security and INEC officials on ground as at 9:54am.

“Since morning we have been waiting for INEC with no sign,” a resident, Mr Emeka Mbah, said.

Our Correspondent, who visited Oru East Local Government Area, reports that INEC officials were still sorting materials for distribution to various polling units as at 9am.

At Umuorii/ Umushioke village, Polling Units 021, INEC officials were  present, while voters turned out in large numbers but there was no security personnel on ground.

At Afor Orogwe ward 006, Owerri West Local Government Area, turn out of voters was also impressive with security operatives present, but INEC officials and materials had yet to arrive at the centre as at 9.15am.

In Aladinma ward 013, Customs Quarters Ward 016, there was a heavy presence of eligible voters, but INEC officials and security personnel had yet to dhow up as at 9.30am.

Functionality of BVAS excites electorate in Ogoja

By Ehigimetor Igbaugba

The Electorate in Ogoja and environs in Cross River, have expressed excitement over the functionality of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS).

Some of the voters who spoke with our reporter said there had not been complaints since the accreditations and voting started at exactly 8:30 a.m.

They noted that the functionality had helped make the process faster and prayed it remained so until the end of the entire process.

A septuagenarian, Mrs Chriatiana Neji, who expressed happiness that she had cast her vote, said that the machine made a difference from what she was used to in previous elections.

“I am happy that I have voted and it was easy and fast, I pray the best person emerge at the end of the process,” she stated.


On her part, Miss Patience Ochui, who voted at polling unit 17 in Saint Benedit Primary School, Ogoja, also commended the process.

“It took less than three minutes for me to complete the process and I must say it was fast.

“I’m thanking the commission and government for both the BVAS and security personnel that had been around here since yesterday,” she said.

Also, Mrs Ceciilia Ochui, while also commending the functionality of the BVAS, said she was hopeful that everybody on the queue would vote since there had been no issue with the BVAS.

It was reported that Ochui voted at unit 14 at Saint Benedit Primary School, Ogoja.

Our correspondent further reports simirlar situation at Nkum-Aladim and Nkum-Iborr voting centres in Ogoja.

Voters decry absence of ink in Okota

By Abiodun Azi

Voters in Oshodi Isolo Local Government Area, Ago Palace way, Okota PU13, on Saturday decried the non-provision of ink at the polling unit.

It was reported that the voters said they came as early as 6:30 a.m to vote, but now disappointed because they will wait for more hours since there is no ink.

A voter, Mr Chukwuemeka Okafor, said it was a calculated attempt to disenfranchise the voters.

According to Okafor, there is usually an excuse or the other in Ago Palace Way unit during any election as a way to delay or disenfranchise accredited voters.

“ In this Ago Palace Way unit, there will always be one reason or the other for voters not to vote, there is need for measures to be taken to correct this,’’ he said.

Another voter, Mrs Jacinta Ibekwe, said it would soon be time to round off the election and the hours lost would not be made up.

Ibekwe stressed that INEC officials ought not to forget anything on a day like this.

Also, Mr Edwin Akachukwu, another voter said that he would not use improvised ink as INEC officials planned, until it was authorised.

“INEC said they can improvised but I will not believe them until they confirmed from a superior that they can use it’’, he added.

However, our correspondent reports that though INEC officials arrived late, the people are conducting the exercise peacefully and there is no presence of security officials.

Shettima leaves polling over absence of INEC officials, materials

By Yakubu Uba

The Vice Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Kashim Shettima on Saturday arrived his Shettimari polling unit 001 in Lawan Bukar ward of Maiduguri metropolis but could not vote due to the absence of election officials.

Our correspondent reports that Kashim arrived the polling unit around 10 a.m. and  met many other voters waiting for the arrival of election materials and officials.

Shettima who was accompanied by Gov. Babagana Zulum of Borno, waited for about 10 minutes before leaving.

Meanwhile, voting has begun in many polling units in the metropolis.

It was reported that INEC said that 87,209,007 voters out of the 93,469,008 registered voters have collected their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) and would be expected to vote.

The four leading presidential candidates are Bola Tinubu of the APC; Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); Peter Obi of Labour Party, and New Nigeria Peoples Party’s (NNPP), Rabiu Kwankwaso.

Osinbajo, wife cast votes in Polling Unit 14 in Ikenne

By Chijioke Okoronkwo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and his wife, Dolapo, have cast their votes in  polling unit 14 in the presidential and National Assembly elections holding across the country.

The vice president and his wife, both from Ikenne, voted  at Polling Unit 14, Egunrege, Ikenne Local Government Area.

It was reported that  officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) arrived at the polling unit as early as 7:15 am while accreditation of voters and voting  commenced at 8:35am.

Osinbajo and wife arrived at the unit at 9:54a.m; got successfully verified by the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS)  at 9:58 a.m. and voted at 10am.

Speaking with newsmen,  Osinbajo  said he was impressed with the conduct of the exercise at the unit.

He expressed optimism that the orderly conduct at the unit would be replicated across the country.

No fewer than 133 voters are expected to exercise their franchise at the polling unit.

Buhari, wife vote at polling unit 003, Daura

By Ismaila Chafe

President Muhammadu Buhari, alongside his wife, Aisha, and other family members cast their votes at the polling unit 003, Sarkin Yara A, Kofar Baru, Daura, Katsina State.

It was reported that the president and his wife arrived at the polling unit at about 9.57 a.m, amid cheers from fellow electorate.

The president, who was accredited immediately after arriving at the unit, cast his vote after undergoing verification by officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Buhari then displayed his ballot paper, as the crowd at the polling unit insisted to see it and he responded cheerfully.

He urged all the candidates to accept the outcome of the elections as the choice of the electorate.

Low turn-out in Gombe communities as voters laud Buhari over naira redesign

By Peter Uwumarogie

Some voters in Billiri communities have commended President Muhammadu Buhari over naira redesign policy to curb vote buying and other electoral malpractices.

The voters gave the commendation in separate interviews with our reporter on Saturday in Billiri communities of Billiri Local Government Area of Gombe State.

The voters, however, decried the poor turn-out of voters in their polling unit when compared to the 2019 general elections.

Mr Gimba Meshack from Ladongor polling unit in Billiri, said he came out at 7.30a.m. but met no one at his polling unit.

He said the officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and some security personnel finally arrived at 8.05am arrived.

Meshack said he came out with his wife to exercise their civic responsibilities in view of the measures taken by the Federal Government to organise a credible election.

He said that the naira redesign policy was good and would help address the challenge of vote buying and other electoral malpractices.

Hyacinth Galadima from same polling unit, said he was satisfied with the arrangement so far made in his polling unit as he had identified his name on the Voter’s register.

Galadima, who also commended the naira redesign policy by the Federal Government, said it would help ensure that only credible candidates were elected.

“Many of those voters who usually collect money from politicians could not get the money probably that is why some of them are not here.

“In 2019, many persons were approached with cash but this time around no one came with such cash to buy votes; so the policy is good.

“I support President Buhari on this policy, it is good because he wants to leave a good legacy behind.”

Ibrahim Mamman, from Jauro Layi polling unit, said though the policy affected voters’ turn-out as many could not get enough cash to come back home to cast their votes but maintained that the policy was good.

Our reporter who visited Gombe South observed along the road from Kumo through Billiri, that there were pastoralists tending to their cattle while cars and heavy-duty trucks were parked at various check points as security operatives denied them passage.

Isa Audi, pastoralist from Ladongor polling unit, said his Permanent Voter Card was damaged and he didn’t go for replacement hence he couldn’t come out to vote.

Audi said some of his colleagues had gone out to vote, adding that he would have voted if he had replaced his card.

I want to see a better Nigeria in my lifetime — 74-year-old voter

By Kemi Akintokun

Seventy-four year old Rev. Olumide Adeshile, one of the early arrivals at his polling unit in Alimosho Local Government Area (LGA) of Lagos, says he wants to witness a better Nigeria in his lifetime.

Adeshile told our reporter at Polling Unit 053, Ward E, Liasu/Ikotun area of Alimosho LGA on Saturday, as he awaited the arrival of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials to begin the accreditation and voting process that would see him cast his vote.

“As much as I want my children and grandchildren to enjoy a better Nigeria, I also want to experience it in my lifetime; that is why I am out here to vote for it to come to pass.

“I believe Nigeria will be great and better,” the retired civil servant said.

He said that he had always prayed and hoped for a better Nigeria to come to reality.

On the late arrival of INEC officials at his polling unit, the septuagenarian said the development would not deter him from carrying out his civic right.

“I have been here since 8.30a.m. and we are yet to see any INEC official on ground, but that will not discourage me from voting,” he said.

Meanwhile, as at 10a.m. voters were still awaiting the arrival of INEC officials for accreditation.

Our correspondent at the polling unit however gathered that security personnel were not seen on ground.

INEC officials, voting materials yet to arrive polling units in Chika, Aleyita

Sumaila Ogbaje

As elections progress nationwide, the News Agency of Nigeria, reports that as at 10.08 a.m., the INEC, as well as voting materials were yet to arrive across eight polling units in Kabusa ward in the FCT.

The eight polling units are in Chika and Aleyita areas of the Abuja Municipal Area Council.

The polling Units are: Aleyita Primary School 012, Community Hall 107, Primary Health 108 Care Centre, Gbadnya 1 (110) and 2 (111), Krordna 109, Chika Primary School 104, Primary Health Centre Chika 105 and Phase 11 (106).

NAN also reports that a large number of electorate who turned up as early as 7.00 a.m. were eagerly waiting at the various units for the officials.

In another development, many eligible voters were seen on the streets in search of their new polling units, following the creation of additional units and relocation of some voters by the INEC.

Security personnel were, however, present at all the polling units while voters provided a notebook by themselves to write down their names while waiting for the officials.

A voter who spoke with NAN, Mr Benjamin Dike, expressed dissatisfaction with the delay in arrival of voting materials.

“As you can see, we are waiting but INEC officials are yet to come.

“I wonder what is keeping them because I don’t want to be disenfranchised,” he said.


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