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WORLD NEWS | Voting continues in Nigeria a day after polls close

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ABUJA (Nigeria), Feb. 26 (AP) — People were still casting ballots across Nigeria Sunday morning, a day after presidential and parliamentary elections in Africa’s most populous nation were supposed to be completed.

Voting is underway in the states of Benue, Adamawa and Bayelsa, while votes are being counted where polls have already been cast, with preliminary results expected as early as Sunday night, election observers said.

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Logistical and security challenges caused widespread delays across the country on Saturday, frustrating voters, some of whom waited overnight and still hadn’t voted by the next morning.

“There is no sacrifice to elect the credible leader of your choice,” said Glory Edewor, who lined up to vote all night in the Delta state.

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Election officials blamed the delay on logistical issues, but other observers pointed to unrest caused by the redesigned currency, which left many without access to paper money.

The cash shortage is affecting not only voter traffic, but also election workers and police officers who provide security.

Yiaga Africa, the country’s largest election watchdog, said that while Saturday’s election was largely peaceful, observers said there were at least 135 major incidents, including eight reports of ballot-scrambling that left those Nullifies and undermines the legitimacy of the country’s democracy.

Those challenges could also lead to low voter turnout, the group said.

“It’s unacceptable that Nigerians who have the constitutional right to vote go out and vote and you have thugs making trouble for them,” said Samson Itodo, the group’s director.

“The country needs to really stand up and condemn these acts of voter suppression that we observed yesterday,” he said.

On Saturday, Associated Press reporters saw armed men park a minibus at a polling station, shoot into the air and seize the presidential ballot box. Shots sent voters screaming and ballots scattered all over the place.

In the capital, Abuja, some voters said they could not vote at all.

“They used all sorts of tactics to make sure we didn’t keep voting,” Emmanuel Ogbu said.

The 45-year-old businessman was among more than 100 people waiting to vote Sunday, but election officials told them they didn’t have enough materials, such as ink, and had to wait for supervisors who hadn’t arrived.

This year’s vote is closely watched as Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy. According to United Nations estimates, by 2050, Nigeria will be tied with the United States to become the third most populous country in the world after India and China.

The current president, Muhammadu Buhari, will step down after two four-year terms. His tenure was marked by worries about his poor health and frequent trips abroad for medical treatment.

Of the 18 presidential candidates, three front-runners have emerged in recent weeks: a candidate from Buhari’s ruling party, a candidate from the main opposition party and a third-party challenger with strong support from young voters.

Conflict analysts say there are many issues to consider as the vote continues. Dr. Akinola Olojo, program manager for the Lake Chad Basin Team at the Security Institute, said officials need to ensure adequate security at polling places that are still operating, monitor for ballot manipulation and manipulation, and control misinformation.

“(These) focuses are critical to a successful conclusion to what could be seen as the most tense election in Nigeria’s recent history. The last election cycle in 2019 saw more than 600 deaths and it is important that Nigeria avoids this while Make sure that citizens’ voice is secured through the current elections,” he said. (Associated Press)

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)



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