Nigeria’s poll turnout impressive – Kufuor

John_KufuorGhana’s former President John Agyekum Kufuor on Saturday said turnout of voters at Nigeria’s fifth election since the end of military rule in 1999, is impressive.

The former President, who is in Nigeria as head of the observer mission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), said “obviously from what we have seen so far, the people are ready to cast their votes and we also see the security presence everywhere”.

Speaking to TV3 in Abuja, Nigeria, he said complaints by eligible voters about delay in verification of voters by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), will be communicated to the appropriate authorities.

“We just wish the process will go through successfully and peacefully,” former President Kufuor said.

Some voters had vented their anger following delay in the verification of voters, asking the observer mission to enjoin INEC to expedite action on the process.

“We need additional time. Please, Mr President John Kufuor assist us here. Let them give us additional time,” one frustrated voter called out.

He observed that the strategic position Nigeria occupy in West Africa and Africa has made the elections important for all and sundry.

The INEC had announced that voting in areas that encountered technical difficulties might be extended into yesterday.

More than 68.8 million registered voters are expected to cast their ballot at 119, 973 polling units across the 36 states of Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory, to elect a winner among the 14 aspiring presidential candidates, and senators.

Despite the high number of presidential candidates, the contest is between the two main parties – the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which is aiming to retain power, and the All Progressives Congress (APC), which is keenly yearning to wrest authority from the government.

President Goodluck Jona-than, 58, is vying for re-election on the ticket of the PDP, while ex-military leader, Major-General (Maj-Gen) Muhammadu Buhari (Rtd), 73, is leading the AP.

The Nigeria General Election has been characterised by fears of violence, especially in the northern part of the country.

However, observers believe the high security presence, including police and the military at the various states of the country, as well as the signing of a peace deal by President Jonathan and Maj-Gen Buhari, on Thursday, can help avert violence and confusion.

Results are expected 48 hours after voting ends.

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