Nigeria elections 2023: Counting begins in governorship elections marred by violence

Votes are being counted in Nigeria a day after the governor and state assembly elections in some parts of the country were marred by violence and delays.

A few states, including Lagos, are allowing for a second day of voting.

There are over 800 candidates vying for the powerful governor and state assembly seats.

The poll comes three weeks after a contentious presidential election in which the opposition claims the winner, Bola Tinubu, was rigged.

The ruling party’s candidate, a former governor of Lagos, received 37% of the vote, but the second and third-placed candidates, Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi, have vowed to challenge the result in court.

While admitting there were difficulties in running the February 25 election, Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission dismissed allegations of bias.

The two opposition candidates have until March 31 to file a petition to overturn the presidential election results.

Election in Nigeria in 2023: The governorship elections are explained.
Saturday’s elections were held in 28 of Nigeria’s 36 states that had not previously been affected by electoral disputes.

Despite the police imposing several security measures, including vehicle movement restrictions, several incidents were reported on Saturday in Lagos, where some polling stations were attacked by gangs who also stole ballot papers.

Similar attacks were reported in the northwestern state of Sokoto, the northern state of Kano, and the Niger Delta city of Port Harcourt.

On Sunday, the situation is calmer in areas where the election was postponed for a second day.

Because Nigeria’s governors are some of the country’s most powerful politicians in charge of multi-million dollar budgets, political parties see state elections as a way to flex their muscles.

Observers are watching to see if Mr Obi’s new Labour Party, which has enthralled millions of young people, can gain seats in states dominated by the ruling APC and the main opposition PDP. The spotlight is on Lagos, where Mr Obi won the governorship.

The elections took place as Nigeria’s economy and cost of living continue to deteriorate.

A growing insecurity threat, fueled by armed groups such as bandits who kidnap for ransom, has gripped Africa’s most populous country as well.

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