As election morning creeps on, some are still waiting for the green light to cast their vote. Trouble with the card reader technology, missing ballot boxes and late arrival of INEC officials have slowed things down. However, the general mood is one of peaceful expectance. Our reporters shared these comments from their units.
An hour after the elections are due to begin, Wokoma Kwani, Rivers State said: “In my community, people are still waiting for the INEC officials…as of now there is no booth or queue…”
“At 9.30 am local time, election materials have not arrived. There are no INEC official or security agents, or military personnel on the ground. The only activity going on now is the collection of PVCs. Everyone is in an expectant mood.” Roland, Peremabiri community, Bayelsa State.
Gift Obomu said that in her ward the ballot box had not yet arrived at 10.30 and voters were being forced to wait.
In amongst these reports, Elizabeth Andaebi in Bayelsa State, said her station was ahead of the game. “INEC officials arrived on time and even before 7:45am. People were seen around the station waiting to be accredited. Security agents were seen moving around. Some parties aspirants were out canvassing for votes. A few miscreants were seen chanting “no money, no vote”.
By mid-morning, voting has still not started for some. Robert Nitabai Desmond reported: “I’m in Otabagi community in Ogbia Local Government Area but up till now the INEC Materials haven’t arrived for accreditation [voting] to start but the villagers are patiently waiting for materials to arrive so that the election will commence.”
Despite the delays, across the Niger Delta the reports are of calm queues and tolerance as officials arrange the voting process. “The elderly and the disabled are waiting patiently for the materials to arrive,” reports Robert Nitabai. “When the materials arrive, voting will commence and it’ll be peaceful.”
In a voting queue in ward 5, Oshimili south LGA, Okonta Emeka spoke to 40 year-old Izuka Attoh, who reflected: “That we have not registered any case of violence is a great plus. There is more maturity in our people now.”