Several polling units across the country opened later than scheduled. The delay was occasioned by the late arrival of election officials and materials; this caused a lot of anxiety among voters as well as an overlap of procedures in many polling units including those in Abuja.
The polling environment was reasonably secured with minimal disruption. Members of the Police Force and other security agencies established a noticeable presence within the polling environment with most operating unarmed. The general view of the security presence at polling units was positive. Notwithstanding, there were cases of intimidation and harassment of voters by overzealous security agents and party thugs/supporters. In Sokoto metropolis, voters were prevented by security agents from taking photos and recording the voting processes.
Card reader performance
Following several reports of widespread challenges with card readers, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) directed election officers to manually accredit voters using the voter register. The late deployment of personnel and materials exacerbated the card reader imbroglio.
Voters’ behaviour and turnout: compliance and irregularity
Feedback from across the country shows that there were long queues of enthusiastic voters. This large turnout can be linked to the success of civic education and the determination of the people to exercise their franchise. In Sokoto, there were problems of crowd control in some of the polling units. The general behaviour of voters was adjudged satisfactory even in the midst of the challenges encountered during the accreditation process.
Quality of voting procedure (timeliness, efficiency, effectiveness etc)
Electoral irregularities were witnessed by field observers in some polling units in Kano and Sokoto states where party supporters were unduly assisting election officials in the polling process. In Lagos, there were severe logistical problems with the delivery of voting materials, particularly ballot boxes. Voting cubicles were not seen in several polling units in Kano, Kaduna and Osun States which means voters were unable to cast their votes in secret.
Violence and Conflict
In addition to our earlier report on the detonated bomb explosive in Enugu and the explosions in Akwa, Anambra states, one of our observers in Ebonyi state witnessed the hijacking of a vehicle conveying election officials and materials and the assault on some members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
The conduct of the 2015 Presidential and National Assembly elections recorded mixed outcomes. While fears in some quarters that Election Day would be marred by serious violence were allayed to a large extent, some instances of technical hitches, non-compliance with electoral regulations and other forms of electoral malfeasance were recorded in some states of the Federation.
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