By Chinyere Ogbonna – Results of yesterday’s National Assembly poll in Nigeria are being compiled now at various collation centres across the country.
Team of correspondents who monitored the election in parts of the country reports that the election was largely peaceful in most areas, except for some states like Bayelsa,Delta Nassarawa states where violence were reported but brought under control by security agents who were on ground.
In Lagos, south -west Nigeria, the conduct of the poll was generally peaceful except for one or two incidents which were later brought under control by security operatives.
For instance in Epe Local Government Area of Lagos state, gunshots nearly disrupted the election in ward, but was quickly checked by security agencies.
In Badagry Local Government also in Lagos state, south -west Nigeria, election progressed rather slowly in some pooling centres and on Lagos Island, accredited voters defied the scorching sun to queue up for the exercise. In Mushin, the turnout of voters was quite appreciable, considering the fact that most people did not come out for accreditation, wrongly believing that last week’s accreditation would suffice for yesterday’s polls. In some volatile other parts of the state like the Lagos Island, Mushin and Agege, security men were mobilized on roads in the areas with their armoured tanks stationed at strategic locations, should there be any uprising.
In Ogun state also in the south-western part of the country, while the counting of votes was going on at the collation center, power supply suddenly went off, and about twenty minutes later, there there was sporadic gun shots suspected to be plans of a particular group to snatch a ballot box and possibly replace with another.
Elsewhere in the country, the general conduct of the polls has been described as peaceful. Meanwhile, The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, ProfessorAttahiruJega has expressed satisfaction with the result so far received on the conduct of the National Assembly election in parts of the country.
The INEC boss who made his view known in an interaction with newsmen, announced the commission was already in possession of materials for next Saturday’s poll including those for re-run elections.
He explained that printing materials for re-run elections now was to prevent a situation whereby the body begins to run helter-skelter, should the need arise. Commenting on hitches experienced, ProfessorJega said that lessons learnt from every election would be used to perfect subsequent polls.
He disclosed that some arrest have been made over snatching of ballot boxes in the National Assembly’s poll. Addressing newsmen at the INEC headquarters, the INEC Chairman mentioned the states to include, Delta, in the south-south part of the country,Bayelsa also in the south-south, Sokoto and Nassarawa in the northern part of the country.
The INEC chairman noted that seven people were arrested in Nassarawa state in the northern part of Nigeria, He added that some people died in Delta state, south-south Nigeria, while violence was also recorded in Benue state in the middle belt of country.
Professor Jega blamed the violence on some politicians who infuse negative ideas in their supporters and the mindset of do or die politics.
Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission have been commended for the manner in which the National Assembly poll was conducted. Generally, correspondents across the country report that Nigerians in Lagos and elsewhere in the country, have expressed satisfaction with the peaceful conduct of the elections.
One of such people is a former Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Lagos State chapter, Mr. Taiwo, who gave the commendation during a programme “Nigeria Decides” a programme on Radio Nigeria Lagos, acknowledged that the election was peaceful. He noted that the postponement of last week Saturday was in the right direction. Mr. Taiwo appreciate the media for their role in the ongoing electoral process. He advised that those elected into the National Assembly should have a clear understanding of the nation’s constitution and be connected to the people of their constituencies.
Another guest on the programme, a Lagos -based lawyer, Mr. Bolanle Olugbani, also observed that the conduct of the election was impressive. Mr. Olugbami said with the largely peaceful conduct of the voters, it was clear that Nigeria could conduct free, fair and credible polls. He commended the National Orientation Agency, for its role in boosting the confidence of the electorate through sensitization programme.
Over 50 parties fielded candidates for both the Senatorial and House Representatives in the National Assembly. Millions of citizens from all across the country trooped in large numbers to cast their votes after last week’s election which was abruptly halted by INEC.