ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) – Millions of Nigerians are heading to the polls on Saturday as governor elections are held in Africa’s most populous country amid last month’s tensions. disputed presidential vote,
New governors are being elected for 28 of Nigeria’s 36 states as the opposition continues to deny Win of President-elect Bola Tinubu from the ruling party of the West African country.
Armed security forces were seen patrolling the streets in states where elections were to be held on Friday.
“Ahead of the elections, the security situation across the country appears tense, with reports of violence, abductions and murders in several states,” the Situation Room, a coalition of civil society groups, said in a statement.
Observers have said the presidential election was peaceful for the most part, but attacks are still expected in many parts of Nigeria where armed groups often carry out violent killings, such as in the northwest and southeast.
At a security meeting in Nigeria’s capital this week, Nigeria’s National Security Adviser Babagana Monguno said security forces have been deployed in all violence-hit areas and authorities do not anticipate any major security threat.
“We should allow everyone to exercise their fundamental rights as citizens of this country. Anyone itching to ease the process should think again,” Monguno said.
Despite having Africa’s largest economy and one of its top oil producers, Nigeria’s development has been stifled by endemic corruption and poor governance, in many cases involving governors. Nigeria’s constitution grants enormous powers to governors, yet they are immune from prosecution of any kind during their four-year term, with a two-term limit.
Despite the powers of governors, polls have shown that many people in the West African nation do not have a high level of interest in the elections and performance of governors, a trend analysts have said affects the level of accountability in states.
“Even if we get the president right, everything else is against us – the people in the National Assembly, the governors and the structural problems in terms of our constitution,” said Aisha Ossory, director of the Open Society Foundations.
Of the 18 candidates filed for the post of governor in 28 states, three political parties have emerged as the frontrunners. And although there are a record 87.2 million registered voters, analysts fear a repeat of low participation in last month’s presidential election, which recorded a voter turnout of 26.7%, the lowest in Nigeria’s history.
In the capital, Abuja, 26-year-old Kate Imadu was among many who could not vote in the presidential election, despite waiting all day and night to cast their vote. She said she has lost interest in traveling to her hometown in Cross River State to vote for the next governor.
“What’s the need to travel when I can’t vote here during the presidential election?” Imadu asked, echoing the frustration of many others.
Nigeria’s independent National Electoral Commission has promised to address challenges that arose in last month’s election, such as delays in voting and the uploading of results, which both opposition parties alleged caused voter disenfranchisement and manipulation of results. Made
Mahmud Yakubu, the head of the electoral body, told officials in Abuja, “We must work hard (as) to address the challenges we experienced in the last election (as) nothing else will be acceptable to Nigerians.”