Nigeria elections: Delays, technical problems reported

Delays and technical problems were reported as Nigerians went to the polls today to elect a president.
The incumbent, Goodluck Jonathan, is facing a strong challenge from Muhammadu Buhari in an election said to be the most closely fought since independence.
Voters needed to register first using biometric cards with their fingerprints before they could cast their vote.
At some polling stations, card readers appeared to be working slowly or not at all, according to BBC reporters on the ground.

President Jonathan tried for some 50 minutes to register in his home village of Otuoke. A BBC reporter at the scene said he had to come back a second time and when the electronic registration failed again, he had to be accredited manually.

Problems were also reported from the north’s biggest city of Kano, where thousands of voters waited for election officials and voting materials to arrive.
“We’ve been here since six o’clock and now it’s half-past nine,” Ismail Omar, a 65-year-old builder told AFP news agency.It was postponed from mid-February to allow the army to recapture territory from Islamist Boko Haram militants.
The two main candidates have pledged to prevent violence.
Voting challenges
By mid-morning, only 68% of polling stations were open, according to the Transitional Monitoring Group (TMG), the largest body observing the elections.
“No-one has shown up from Inec (the Independent National Electoral Commission)… this is a deliberate attempt to sabotage the elections.”
However, Gen Buhari registered in his hometown Daura without any problems and he praised the accreditation system.
“If people are allowed to vote, rigging will actually be impossible under this system,” he said.
As millions of voters queued outside polling stations, the Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec) had its website hacked.
A group calling itself the Nigeria Cyber Army has placed a message on the website warning Inec not to rig the elections.
It is not clear if the security breach goes beyond the website, although the hackers say they have long been in control of the electoral commission database.
Inec says it is investigating the attack.
The election comes amid heightened security, with police deployed at all polling stations.
Suspected Boko Haram gunmen have killed two people at a polling station in Gombe state, AFP reports.
The authorities are reported to have carried out a controlled explosion after a car bomb was discovered at a polling station in Enugu state in south-eastern Nigeria.
There are also reports of election monitors being chased away from polling stations. A TMG spokesman told the BBC that groups of youths and party agents had been intimidating observers in three different locations in the south of the country.
The two main presidential candidates

  • Muhammadu Buhari, All Progressives Congress (APC), Muslim northerner, ex-military ruler, fourth presidential bid
  • Goodluck Jonathan, People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Christian southerner, incumbent president, second-term bid

House of Representatives and Senate elections
Voters in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja – the capital – will also elect members of the house of representatives and the senate.
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has dominated Nigerian politics since 1999, but Gen Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC) is viewed as a serious challenge.
Some 800 people were killed after the 2011 contest between Mr Jonathan and Gen Buhari, a former military ruler.
On Friday, the Nigerian army said it had retaken the town of Gwoza, believed to be the headquarters of Boko Haram, one of the last places still under its control.
Credit: BBC

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