Nigeria’s general elections have been marred by delays and technical issues, leaving citizens frustrated as they await the announcement of results.
The country’s electoral commission released results for only one out of 36 states on 26 February evening, leaving many anxious for more updates.
The electoral commission has apologised for the unresponsiveness of its website due to a surge in use, and the election continuing for a second day in some parts of the country has further contributed to the delays.
More than 87 million Nigerians were eligible to vote, making it the biggest democratic exercise in Africa.
The election has also seen an unprecedented challenge to the two-party system that has dominated Nigeria for 24 years, with 15 presidential candidates in the race.
Peter Obi from the Labour Party, Bola Tinubu from the ruling All Progressives Congress, and Atiku Abubakar of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party are all seen as potential winners.
Many had expected a faster conclusion to the election this time due to the introduction of an electronic result transmission system meant to increase transparency and prevent results from being altered.
Voters have accused electoral officials of refusing to upload results at polling units as they are supposed to, and officials have cited a lack of internet in some places. There have also been reports of disturbances at collation centres in some states, with some political parties asking their supporters to protect their votes.
The earliest a winner has been announced in previous elections is on the third day after voting. As Nigerians continue to wait for the results of this closely contested election, tensions are high, and the country’s stability hangs in the balance.
In the meantime, Commonwealth observers closely monitored the electoral process as it happened on 25 February. The independent and impartial group’s objective is to evaluate the organisation and execution of the elections, ensuring compliance with democratic standards and principles that Nigeria has pledged to uphold.