The day started with the surprising news of the card reader or readers refusing to authenticate the fingers of the President, Goodluck Jonathan and the wife, Patience. The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, officials in Otueke had to apply close to four card readers yet it could not accredit the President and the wife, though the mother of the President was accredited. The first family had to rely on the incident form to complete the registration process before they could vote. That was not before the chairman of the INEC asked the Resident Electoral commissioner to allow the president and wife to use the incident form to complete their accreditation process. Prof. Attahiru Jega described the failure of the card reader to authenticate the fingers of the first family as a national embarrassment. He has asked the officers to use the manual process where the card readers fail. Governor Seriake Dickson was incensed by the failure of the card reader to authenticate the first family. He called on INEC to take urgent steps to address the situation. He said he was totally dissatisfied with the performance of INEC. The President congratulated Nigerians for coming out to vote. He appealed to Nigerians to be calm that the introduction of the card reader was to give the process credibility.
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress, APC, Presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari and wife Aisha did not have any problem with the card readers as they registered and voted in Daura, Katsina State. General Buhari expressed satisfaction with the process and said it was successful where he registered and voted.
The Vice President, Namadi Sambo and wife registered and cast their votes in Kaduna. He said it was a peaceful conduct of Nigerians. He also said the report he is receiving says everything is going on well and Nigerians are conducting themselves well.
The Senate President David Mark expressed satisfaction with the election. The Senate President and the wife got accreditation and voted in ward 1, Oturkpo, Benue state. He said the process was peaceful and orderly. He asks for calm. He expressed pleasure with the peaceful conduct of the voters. He however, expressed worry about the failure of the card readers. He said the PVC and the Temporary Voters Card, TVC would have been used simultaneously. The INEC chairman said the officials have to be told to use the manual accreditation if the card reader fails. He said of the 150,000 card readers only 450 had problems which to him is not significant to discredit the process.
Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC and wife registered and voted in the VGC area in Lekki , Lagos. He said that the accreditation process started a bit late because he had to wait for hours. He also said the card readers initially were not working but it finally worked and they voted.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo commended the conduct of the elections. He said the conduct in Abeokuta where he voted was satisfactory and the exercise credible. The said the problem with the card readers could be related to the fact that it is new and that INEC should be commended for their effort.
The Sultan of Sokoto appealed that Nigerians should be peaceful in the conduct. He also said that the process started late but he ensured that everyone present voted. He prayed that when the results finally come, there should be still peace.
The minister of state for defense, Musiliu Obanikoro said the failure of the card readers is part of the learning curve.
The Inspector General of Police, IGP, and Suleiman Abba congratulated the police for their civility. He said he was satisfied with the security and safety of the exercise. He said even in places where Boko Haram had occupied in the past, the turnout was massive. He said it shows the resilience of Nigerians. Before today the IGP had redeployed six DIGs, 36204 security personnel, armoured personnel carriers 5 gunboats, 500 patrol vehicles 2 helicopters for Lagos.
the former governor of Ekiti state Kayode Fayemi casting his vote.
In Minna, two former military Presidents, Ibrahim Babangida, IBB and Abdulsalam Abubakar were accredited and voted at the Cultural centre. IBB said the election was good and gave room for transparency, fairness and credible. Though the exercise was delayed for about two hours, the ultimately voted. The Governor of the state, Aliyu Babangida who is contesting for the Senate said if in future we are to use technology it is better to start with the card reader.
In River state, three people including the soldier were feared dead. Some of the voters protested the late arrival of the election materials. The governor Rotimi Amaechi refused to vote arguing that INEC wants to rig the election. He said there was no result sheet. INEC has said that they will respond appropriately to the allegation of the governor. The governor’s aides also refused to participate.. the APC discredited the election and said there was no election in Rivers State. The PDP however said the election was perfect. The citizens however in the state said there was a tremendous improvement to previous elections.
In Akwa Ibom, the governor Godswill Akpabio expressed satisfaction with the process and urged voters not to be frustrated by the failure of the card readers as INEC has provided incident forms to remedy the situation.
In Delta state, the INEC officials were nowhere to be found in EGBOGIDI town in UDU local government and INEC has rescheduled the election to Sunday in the whole UDU local government. However, the election in Ethiope East and West has been rescheduled to April 11 because there were no ballot boxes.
In Osun state there were reports of violence in Ikiruun ares where one person is feared dead.
In Oyo state police arrested a man with a fake PVC. The Commissioner of police in Oyo state, Mohammed Katsina said the man has been arrested in Eleyele police station. he also said that ten men were arrested along the Lagos -Ibadan expressway for loitering and were detained . He said they will be released after the election. In Akinyele area as at 1.35pm the card reader wiped out all the data and this led them to carry out the process manually which caused anxiety among voters and delayed the process.
In Imo state, the aide of the governor, Ikechukwu Okoroacha was arrested for possession of arms. In Enugu, there were explosion reported and one person is feared dead. I Gombe state, there was a bomb explosion in the police station and about 20 people were feared dead. There were no incidents in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe where Boko Haram had ravaged in the past as voted came out enmasse even at the IDPs. In Taraba state there was no incident as voters expressed enthusiasm on the process.
The PDP publicity Secretary, Olise Metuh said the poor workings of the card readers would have been avoided had INEC listened to Nigerians on the deployment of card readers without proper testing. He said it was a huge embarrassment that the President and wife, the governors of Anambra, Bauchi, Adamawa and Plateau could not get accredited by the card reader.
The Federal Capital territory minster, Mohammed Bala who voted in Bauchi expressed delight with the conduct of the voters.
The director general of the national orientation agency, Mike Omeri was satisfied with the turnout and ascribed it to the effort at mobilising the people by the agency. He said the patience of Nigerians was tested and it showed the level of their patriotism. He said the security situation was good but for the incident in Gombe.
Both the local and international observer groups expressed satisfaction with exercise. Former Ghanaian president and chairman of ECOWAS observer mission were satisfied with the patience of voters. The head of the EU said with the exception of the delay in starting the exercise, they were happy with the conduct of Nigerians.
The former head of state General Yakubu Gowon who is an observer appealed to the media to promote peace as they have a critical role to ensure peace. He said that he was satisfied with the exercise in the polling units he visited.
Meanwhile, the NYSC director general assured the youth corpers of their safety. He said about 20,000 corpers were deployed for the election.
The US ambassador commended Nigerians for their patience despite the heat. He said the introduction of technology was good but the challenges were not expected.
INEC also confirmed the hacking of their official website but that the data had been moved. He said the hacking did not affect any of their operations.
‘It is disingenuous to accuse everyone who calls for restructuring as trying to break up the county. History tells us that that kind of cheap blackmail will not work as long as the underlying reasons for the agitations persist.’
‘The biggest challenge seems to be that we seem to be allowing moderate voices on this issue to be drowned out by the reckless utterances of a few rabble rousers on all sides who may be tools in the hands of those who do not wish this country well. These are some of the people who arrogate to themselves the toga of spokespersons of our diverse groups.’
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