Saturday, 9 April 2011

Nigeria: #NigeriaDecides Election Review IV - Part I to Voting

We took the opportunity

Today, Saturday, the 9th of April 2011, Nigerians were presented with the opportunity to elect their representatives vying for the National Assembly which is made up of the National Senate and the House of Representatives.

In 15 of the 109 Senatorial districts and 48 of the Federal Constituencies had elections postponed until Tuesday, the 26th of April 2011.

The electioneering process seemed to get off on a very optimistic note with accreditation slated for the hours between 8:00AM and 12:00 noon, the voting to commence from 12:30 until the last accredited person votes and then the counting at the Polling Unit, the announcement of the results and the collation of results up the chain to the central Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) offices.

Nigerians at home, as witnesses and voters and those abroad interacted effectively online through Twitter, Facebook, mobile telephony, Skype, radio and television to ensure that this was the most scrutinised elections ever in the history of Nigeria.

Nigeria Decides

The hashtag #NigeriaDecides was probably the most active Twitter placeholder today as thousands of Tweet messages witnessed, informed, shared and documented events with the sharing of advices, anecdote and mostly all done in good humour.

This is how the trend for #NigeriaDecides on Twitter http://j.mp/ho2qkm ran in the last 24 hours; you can move the timeline about.

The first Tweets that caught my attention were those that informed that INEC staff had arrived at Polling Units early and were set up to receive voters for accreditation at 8:00AM prompt.

A good start

The first accreditation notice came within 5 minutes of the Polling Units opening for business.

@babatunde: #RSVP Accreditation done in less than a min PU: 24/20/04/017 #NigeriaDecides That is efficient. Excellent!

Much credit and commendation has to go to the National Youth Service Corps members who had been called into service as helpers of INEC in the elections, many have come to harm with the loss of life, attacks on their persons and the poor catering for their needs by INEC and other agencies as shown the Tweets that follow, but we owe them a debt of gratitude for their service.

@greggihenyen: RT #NigeriaDecides Corpers in Eti-Osa LGA, Lagos State sleeping in a bus. No accommodation arrangements made. @inecnigeria

@purefoyCNN: Confusion among NYSC about where their polling stations are… #Nigeriadecides http://tumblr.com/x7f21sha7c

Some problems

There were issues at certain Polling Units with voters not finding their names of the Voters’ Register, but these were sporadic and it is unlikely that the absence of these voters would have unduly changed the results though the feeling of being disenfranchised can be very disheartening.

One is hope that this would be addressed by the time of the next election on Saturday the 16th of April 2011.

@bubusn: #NigeriaDecides Interestingly, most of these voters say they were here for the verification exercise in February and found their names

@bubusn: #NigeriaDecides as accreditation continues in Utako, the number of people not finding their names grows! 37/06/05/012

What we have to do

We could not forget that the elections to the National Assembly presented the winners with one of the best perks for any job in the world. If we were to election anyone to that kind of position we had to be sure we would get value for money.

#NigeriaDecides to put responsible people on the million dollar payroll http://j.mp/f08GSn h/t @toluogunlesi

People were encouraged and they were lead to enthuse others to get involved, there is a promise in a place called Nigeria and it would start with a few to get the many out to vote.

@AbangMercy: #nigeriadecides Just saw a young man here at Mende Maryland Lagos acting like a town crier urging people to vote

The big-wigs who had tried to personify the electoral process with everything catering to their needs like the out-going governor of Kwara State.

@234next KWARA: Bukola Saraki has been accredited at his compound in Ilorin: Is there an accredited PU in his compound? #NigeriaDecides

Due process

According to advice from INEC no Polling Unit was to support more than 300 voters, this should have been split into 4 groups, however, the person who posted this status did not mention where this problem was.

We've just seen a polling unit with over 1000 registered voters even when INEC there should be no more than 300 #NigeriaDecides

With all the checks and balances put in place to stop election irregularities, it appears some diehards would always be up to mischief but thankfully many of them were thwarted in their machinations. INEC expects to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law those caught in electoral malpractice.

@4eyedmonk: 6 people arrested in Osun State for attempting to burn polling booths - STV #NigeriaDecides

@chakams: Policemen foil gunmen's attempt to snatch ballot box in Surulere this morning #NigeriaDecides

@je_mc2: please, if the officials in your PU are accrediting and voting at ONCE, get them to cease and desist. It is irregular. #NigeriaDecides

Turnout and averting violence

The turnout was varied across the country, in some places it was very low but in others quite high, despite the apathy and cynicism of those who did not turn up, what mattered was for those who did to have the opportunity to exercise their rights without let or hindrance.

There are many reports from around the country of outbreaks of violence, bomb blasts and other disruptive activities but the people stood their ground in most instances to ensure that their votes mattered and counted.

tutite4life #nigeriadecides out of 786 that registered at unit 10 ward 12 Ibadan North only 60 were accredited to vote. This is ridiculous in Nigeria

uadubasim We've finished accreditation and we accredited 165 voters out of 267 that were registered @ Aagba town hall, Osun state. #NigeriaDecides

@BOGbadamosi very sad my dear! Old men and women coming out to vote and the young men are playing football. *sad* #nigeriadecides

RT @234next: Despite last week’s election postponement, there is a large turnout of voters, particularly women, in Bauchi. #NigeriaDecides

@inecnigeria fight has broken out at Ikorodu. Thugs disrupting process. Pls send security officials to PU: 24/12/17/003. #NigeriaDecides

@Tellng: Bloodshed averted in Ede, Osun state btw PDP n ACN supporters NASS Election Updates Live! http://tinyurl.com/3zcz636 #NigeriaDecides

RT @bubusn: #NigeriaDecides RT @THISDAYLIVE: Ten Killed in Bogoro Attack: http://t.co/ldUnl3b

After accreditation

Accreditation continued well passed the 12 noon deadline as long as those seeking to voter were at the Polling Unit by 12 noon.

@zhrddn 12:05 Accreditation still on @ PU 18/09/06/016 #NigeriaDecides Accreditation is allowed to continue for all arrivals before noon

After Accreditation, the accredited queued up to vote, they were counted and the Presiding Officer after announcing the numbers of those in the Voters’ Register, those accredited and those queued up to vote, Form EC 8A was filled in and voting commenced.

4eyedmonk: Accreditation ends nationwide, voting to begin in 24 mins #NigeriaDecides

The voting began in earnest with certain issues with ballot papers like missing party symbols and the case of certain ballots spoilt because the ink had not dried up before the ballot paper was folded blotting other party boxes.

@jongambrellAP: Ballots emerge in Ibadan. #nigeriadecides http://t.co/0drsoXO

@4eyedmonk: I hear Labour Party was left out of the ballot papers in Lagos. Any confirmation? #NigeriaDecides"

Voting Tip: After thumb-printing your ballot, make sure the ink is dry before you fold it @inecnigeria #NigeriaDecides Prevent voided votes.

Reference Notes & URLs

Nigeria: #NigeriaDecides Election Review I

Nigeria: #NigeriaDecides Election Review II - New Election Dates

Nigeria: #NigeriaDecides Election Review III - Who votes on Saturday.

Nigeria: #NigeriaDecides Election Review IV - Part I to Voting

Nigeria: #NigeriaDecides Election Review IV - Part II - We can

Nigeria: #NigeriaDecides Election Review V

To contact INEC

#NigeriaDecides: INEC incident reporting addresses: inec@yahoo.com,inec@gmail.com, inec@hotmail.com, inec@nigeria.org

Follow @inecnigeria, @EiENigeria, @reclaimnaija on Twitter if you are voting tomorrow. You will get useful alerts and information.

If you are tweeting about the elections, please use the hashtag#NigeriaDecides.

Send SMS Reports to INEC on these numbers 0816-666-2222, 0812-000-6622, 0809-666-2221.

Use these HOTLINES for incident reporting: 0707-0273-6781-9 (9 lines.)

General Election Information

Nigeria: A Primer on INEC Elections in April 2011

Nigeria: INEC Election Guidelines - Critical Information

Nigeria: Table of INEC Electoral Chain of Custody

Participate in monitoring

Reporting from your Polling Unit - ReVoDa | How it works

Submit a report as a monitor to ReclaimNaija – Click to Submit a Report

234Next.com Election Incident Reporting Site

Nigeria Elections Social Media Tracking Centre

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