Over 93 million Nigerian voters are electing new state Governors and Legislators on Saturday 18th March rescheduled the election.
The elections were formerly scheduled for March 11 by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, timetable, but were postponed due to the reconfiguration of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System introduced, BVAS.
BVAS will be used for accreditation, voting and transmission of results. The machine operates with a sim card on any mobile network. Civil Society Organisations have worked effectively with the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and political parties for its smooth operation.
Local and International observers are also monitoring the conduct of the election across states.
In 176,846 polling units across 28 States, voters would elect new leaders for the second tier of government under the federal system structure.
Gubernatorial elections will not hold in eight out of 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT. These are; Ekiti, Kogi, Edo, Bayelsa, Anambra, Ondo, Imo and Osun States.
Meanwhile, State Assembly elections will hold in the eight states except for the FCT.
Eighteen political parties are on the ballot. Although in some states, the political parties have had alliances and support for some major political parties, the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, and major opposition parties Peoples Democrat Party, PDP, Labour Party, LP, New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, Social Democratic Party, SDP and Young Peoples Party, YPP, are beneficiaries.
Going by the last Presidential election results, the political map of Nigeria has been redrawn as a result of a major upset in states like Lagos, Rivers, Nassarawa, Gombe, Katsina, Kebbi, Benue, Kano, Plateau, Osun and Oyo states.
The traditional political fortress of APC and PDP was taken over by the Labour Party and NNDP. Lagos, Katsina, Kaduna, Kebbi, Nassarawa, Plateau, and Gombe states, the stronghold of APC went to the LP. Kano fell to the NNPP and APC surprisingly won in Benue, Oyo and Rivers States. These are real political battlegrounds in the Gubernatorial and state Assembly polls.
Intra Party crises within the major political parties are pointers and signals to major political battle in Benue, Sokoto, Kano, Kaduna, Plateau, Delta Ogun and Oyo States These are within the radar of political pundits for upsets.
Going by the traditional voting patterns in previous elections since 1999, voters tend to be swayed by the performance of the Presidential election results, voting for the ruling party at the Federal level. The sing song has always been” our state do not want to belong to the opposition.”
Despite criticism of the last Presidential election, the Electoral umpire vowed to conduct a free, fair and credible Gubernatorial and Local assembly elections.
The Administrative Secretary, of INEC Sokoto state, Hauwa Aliyu said; “We have worked on the loopholes and set for the Saturday election.”
“INEC’s website shows that the election results viewing portal is up and running for the polls and the Bimodal Voter Registration Systems, BVAS, have been configured for Saturday’s election. So the commission is determined to improve on its previous performance. What we have done is to learn valuable lessons from previous elections that we conducted,” NEC Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye during a television interview.
Also, Security agencies embarked on road shows across the states to demonstrate readiness for adequate security during and after the elections. There are restrictions on vehicular movement during the voting hours
According to the 2022 electoral act, election results will be declared at the polling units and sent to the INEC portal while the Resident electoral Commissioners will announce the official results.