Millions of Nigerians turned out on Saturday 23 February to elect their President and National Assembly representatives, witnessed by Commonwealth election observers deployed around the country.
In the lead up to election day, more than 72.7 million voters had collected their Personal Voting Cards required for voting from the Independent National Electoral Commission, amounting to 86.6 per cent of the registered electorate.
After a weeklong postponement of the original polling date from 16 February, voters turned up at approximately 120,000 polling units nationwide, some even gathering before the official 8am start until voting closed at 2pm. Additional time was authorised for those that experienced delays in opening.
“I’m glad the Nigerian people are coming out to vote,” said Jakaya Kikwete, former President of Tanzania and leader of the Commonwealth Observer Group, as he visited voting points in Abuja.
Members of Group were re-deployed in small teams since Thursday 21 February to different geopolitical regions, to observe the process from pre-poll preparations until the collation of results.
Commonwealth election observers are given a mandate to observe and consider the factors affecting the credibility of the electoral process as a whole. They will judge whether the elections were conducted according to the standards for democratic elections to which Nigeria has committed, including national legislation and relevant regional, Commonwealth and international commitments.
As Chair, Dr Kikwete will announce the Group’s preliminary findings at a press conference on 25 February in the capital, Abuja. A final report will be made available at a later stage.