Observations from Election Day 2

The day at Apapa started on a chaotic note. Since the postponed elections of April 2nd, most of the ad-hoc staff (corpers, ex-corpers and non-corpers) had not been paid. Payment for the Presiding officers took place yesterday (Friday) at the NYSC secretariat, but not everyone was aware. The list for Poll Clerks and Polling Assistants (who were mostly non-corpers) was not ready, and it was they who had to protest for their monies from the INEC officials, delaying the start of the voting exercise in Apapa. Polling units didn’t start until 9.30 at the earliest, and my own polling unit resumed at 10.30.

It is unclear if our lateness contributed to the low turnout compared to last week when 259 people got accredited. Today was a paltry 230 which, frankly, was surprising to me. I came braced for a lot of eager voters, but maybe I overrated the enthusiasm in these parts. The result was that most polling units around Lagos started closing by 3pm, as everyone who got accredited, voted.

On the social media side, it was interesting to see ‘GEJ’, ‘Buhari’, ‘PDP’ and ‘#PlessYaHand’ trend at one time or another during the day. The fact that ‘DeprivedNaijaChildhood’ also trended on thursday night (14th April), lends weight to the argument that there might now be too many Nigerians on twitter. (LOL). It was really good to see a far more engaged electorate this time around, as compared to four years ago. Reports sent in via the now famous #NigeriaDecides hashtag indicate a smoother voting exercise compared to last week. The logistics and security was also a lot better. Everything is a process.

Early results coming in from around the country indicate people voted for the personality, as against the party or the issues. It also looks a lot like a North-South divide. It will be an interesting 36 hours.

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