© Reuters. People wait for results during the counting process of Nigeria’s presidential election, at a polling unit in Awka, Anambra state, Nigeria February 25, 2023. REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja
By Tife Owolabi
YENAGOA, Nigeria (Reuters) – Nigerians gathered to vote on Sunday in a few parts of the country where technical and other glitches prevented a national election from taking place the previous day, even as vote-counting was underway in other places.
A Reuters reporter saw voters arriving at polling stations in Yenagoa city, which will open at 10 a.m. (0900 GMT) so electoral commission officials can complete Saturday’s presidential and parliamentary election.
“The whole process is an absolute mess,” said Preye Iti, 60, a civil servant. “I waited from 8.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. yesterday. Now I’m back here at 8.30 again.”
Voting was also expected to continue in some parts northeastern Borno state, where voting machines failed to work.
The commission said late on Saturday that election would continue in several wards in Yenagoa, which lies in Nigeria’s oil-producing south, and where there were cases of election officers and materials failing to turn up on Saturday.
It added that official nationwide results could be expected from late on Sunday evening. The final election tally is expected within five days.
The presidential race is to replace outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired army general, who was also once a military ruler in the 1980s. He is stepping down after winning two previous elections and serving the maximum eight years permitted by the constitution.
Whoever wins will face a litany of crises in the country of more than 200 million, Africa’s most populous nation.
Nigeria is struggling with Islamist insurgencies in the northeast, an epidemic of kidnappings for ransom, conflict between herders and farmers, shortages of cash, fuel and power, as well as deep-rooted corruption and poverty.
The contest to succeed Buhari is wide open, with candidates from two parties that have alternated in power since the end of army rule in 1999 facing an unusually strong challenge from a minor party candidate popular among young voters.
They are former Lagos governor Bola Tinubu, 70, of the ruling All Progressives Congress, former vice president Atiku Abubakar, 76, of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, and former Anambra State governor Peter Obi, 61, of the smaller Labour Party.