AFRICANGLOBE – Most voters have cast their ballots in Nigeria’s heavily anticipated presidential elections this Saturday. While faulty card-readers and tardy INEC officials created long delays for voters throughout the country, many would say that Nigeria’s electoral performance has improved from 2011’s presidential contest. Here are five things we learned from Saturday’s make-or-break polls.
Logistics is Nigeria’s biggest threat
In spite of anticipated electoral malpractice and violence, logistics were the biggest ban of the recent polls. From malfunctioning card-readers to the absence of voters’ names on the register, to late arrival of election materials and electoral personal, Nigeria’s electoral umpire, INEC, showed once again that it has yet to fully get its act together. The credibility of an electoral process is largely dependent on how smoothly and swiftly polls are conducted. With that said, the process this year has thus far show improvement of past elections in terms of INEC’s preparation and conduct.
Nigeria is getting better at this
The conduct of the recent polls demonstrated that Nigeria is on the right track to democracy. With peace accords and conciliatory rhetoric of the aspirants before the election, and their supporters’ subsequent civil behaviour at the polls, Nigerians are finally subscribing to #Votenotfight. This is exactly what the country’s fledgling democracy needs in order to gain a strong foothold in the society.
Sometimes the tried and trusted is better
While INEC deserves applause for having the courage to institute the card reader system, the electoral body should not have totally discarded the prior manual accreditation. The glitches of the new technology suggest INEC should have been more apprehensive for a complete overhaul. Luckily, they realised the gaffe on time and quickly blended both techniques. Hopefully in the coming polls the body will know better to have an option B and C on standby.
Boko Haram is no match for democracy
Nigerians today proved that Boko is the Haram. The dwindling terror group had made repreated threats against voters and the elections, but Nigerians braved their barbarism. Elections ran smoothly in the north eastern states of Borno and Yobe, where the terror group has the most influence. Save for a cowardly attack at a polling booth in neighbouring Gombe state, the insurgents failed in their bid to disrupt the polls.
Nigerians believe in Democracy
Burnt by the sun, beat by the rain, threatened by Boko Haram and harassed by security forces, Nigerians came out en masse to vote. It was reminiscent of the enthusiasm experienced during the June 12 elections.
As Nigerians awaited the results, the recent political engagement demonstrates a populace ready to practice democracy.