The much-anticipated Governorship and State Houses of Assembly election is here after it was initially postponed by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC from March 11 to March 18 to enable it to reconfigure the BVAS ahead of the polls.
Now that the BVAS have been reconfigured, distribution of electoral materials have been distributed to the polling units as Nigerians get ready to elect their choice candidates.
Only 28 states will be participating in the governorship election, and they are Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Cross River, and Delta.
Others are Ebonyi, Enugu, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kwara, and Lagos.
Participating states also include Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, and Zamfara.
However, States like, Anambra, Bayelsa, Edo, Ekiti, Imo, Kogi, Ondo and Osun will not be participating in the Governorship elections.
Be that as it may, all the 36 states will be electing members of the House of Assembly as the candidates are digging it out for the 993 legislative seats.
Radio Nigeria will keep you updated on the happenings around the country as they unfold.
You can join us on our live stream on YouTube: Radio Nigeria Network and all our social media.
7:41pm: EFCC Operatives attacked in Kaduna
Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on election monitoring duty in Kaduna State came under attack at School Road, Unguwan Rimi Kaduna while attempting to arrest a suspected vote buyer.
In a statement on Saturday, the Head, Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren said the team, working on intelligence on the alleged activities of one Kabiru Musa who was seen in an amateur video inducing eligible voters by using his phone to transfer money into their accounts as they cast their votes, had mobilized to the scene to arrest the suspect.
“Immediately he was accosted by the operatives, Musa became unruly and screamed to attract the attention of his syndicate members, who descended on the operatives, using all manner of weapons that left some of them injured. It took great restraints for the operatives to ignore the unprovoked attack but insisted on arresting the suspect”.
“As the team drove away with the suspect, their vehicle was pelted with stones and other dangerous objects that damaged the windshield and three operatives suffered varying degrees of injuries in the process”.
“The injured operatives are currently receiving medical attention at the Medical Centre of the Kaduna Zonal Command, while the suspect is in custody, pending conclusion of the investigation”, the statement adds.
Reacting to the incident, Executive Chairman of the Commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa commended the operatives for exercising great restraint under extreme provocation. He however appealed to the public to desist from attacking officers of the Commission as such action would no longer be tolerated.
4:54pm: Voters attacked in Ajah
Some voters were attacked on Saturday at Sangotedo in Ajah
27-year- old Chukwudi Ofodile said after voting, a man cut him with a Matchet on the head while another stabbed him with a broken bottle.
Also, Ogochukwu Nnandi said his sister called him to come as the military were close by. However, on getting there, gunmen whisked him away to a room but for the quick intervention of soldiers who rescued him.
Ogochukwu was rescued with a cut on his neck.
Similarly, an officer, Major Bello of the 9-brigade, was stabbed on the hand while trying to rescue the victim with his men.
Gory image: viewers discretion advised. Photo:Mary Fatile
4.20pm: EFCC arrests 20 over vote buying
The Ilorin Zonal office of the Economic and financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested 20 people, including a Presiding Officer and Party Agents, for alleged vote-buying.
Addressing journalists after parading the suspects at the EFCC Zonal Command in Ilorin, Zonal Commander, Michael Nzekwe, said they were arrested while monitoring electioneering process in different parts of the state.
He said the suspects were found with various incriminating materials which include four Point of Sale (
POS) machines, Nigerian currency of various denominations, mobile phone, exercise books containing list of names and account numbers, among others.
Mr Nzekwe said the suspects were still being investigated and would be dealt with according to the law, if found guilty.
He urged residents of the state to desist from anything that would affect the electioneering process negatively.
2.40pm: INEC adhoc staff abducted in Imo
The Independent National Electoral Commission has condemned what it described as intimidation and disenfranchisement of some voters in Imo State.
In a statement, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in the State, Professor Sylvia Agu condemned the abduction of its personnel and diversion of election materials meant for Ugbelle registration area 06 in Ideato south local government area.
She said the intervention of security agents led to the rescue of the adhoc staff that were held hostage for hours.
Professor Agu, however, said the whereabouts of the electoral materials were yet to be ascertained.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner urged the people of the state to continue to repose confidence in the ability of the commission to conduct free, fair and credible elections.
1.20pm: Thugs attack Journalist in Kano
Thugs have attacked a journalist working for Premier Radio Kano, Ashiru Umar while on election duty at Gidan Galadima,Galadanci primary, Gwale local government area.
Reports say trouble started when thugs descended on the journalist with weapons, thinking that he had filmed them as they gave food items to eligible voters at the polling unit.
The reporter, Ashiru Umar, was injured; and his gadgets destroyed. He is currently receiving medical attention at the hospital.
Meanwhile, Kano state chapter of the Nigerian Union of journalists (NUJ) has condemned the attack.
NUJ Chairman, Comrade Abbas Ibrahim said the union would take necessary action to ensure justice for Ashiru.
Comrade Abbas advised journalists to maintain safety at all times and report any intimidation to relevant authorities.
The House of Assembly election in Osun State has been largely peaceful across the State. However, there were reports of pockets of violence in Osogbo and Ilesa East Local Government.
At Ward 5, polling units 10 and 11, some hoodlums reportedly unleashed terror, shooting sporadically into the air, destroyed some of the already thumb-printed ballot papers, and attempted to cart away with ballot boxes.
While some voters ran for safety, others stayed behind shouting for help, forcing the hoodlums to abandon the voting materials earlier hijacked.
After about 30 minutes, INEC remobilized to the units, while a team of policemen joined them later to continue the process.
Also, there were reports of BVAS malfunctioning in some areas, including Ward 1, unit 5 in Ede North Local Government, where only 10, out of 50 voters were recognised by the machine at about 11 O’clock.
12.16pm: Party agent arrested in Kwara
Voting exercise is ongoing across the four local Government Areas that make up the Kwara Central Senatorial District.
At a polling unit located inside the Ansarul-Islam Primary School Okekere, in Ilorin West Local Government, a party agent was arrested by security officers for alleged vote-buying.
The arrest led to some uproar within the location which had more than 10 polling units, but the situation was later brought under control and voting continued in the area.
There was also uproar and arguments between INEC adhoc staff and party agents at polling unit O40, Oju Ekun Zarumi ward, as some voters failed the BVAS accreditation.
Photo: Lawrence Afolabi
12.01pm: Pockets of violence in parts of Bayelsa
Accreditation and voting commenced on schedule in some parts of the state. There were however skirmishes in some areas as suspected thugs allegedly carted away and burnt election materials.
In Nembe, Goring Nwibaa, Brass, Yenagoa and Ekeremor, the process was relatively peaceful.
However, in Bassambiri, suspected thugs, allegedly loyal to one of the parties, caused unrest by chasing away residents and supporters of other parties, prompting people to call for heightened security presence.
Similarly, in Ogbia Local Government Area, election materials were hijacked and burnt by a group of irate youths in Otuokpoti. The suspected thugs burnt materials for Wards 2, 3,4 and 5 for the Ayama clan.
In Southern Ijaw LGA, Ward 15, Materials did not reach Gbanraun town, as INEC adhoc officials left early in the morning to collect materials from the Registration Area Centre at Apoi, with the voters waiting.
Voting commenced at about 8:30am in some polling units with low turnout of voters compared to the Presidential and National Assembly election.
Radio Nigeria observed that process with the Bio-Modal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS machines was seamless.
People were orderly in most of the Polling Stations as they queue to cast their ballots.
Security agents were also present in all polling units and major streets of the metropolis to ensure calm.
The elderly, persons with disabilities, and essential workers were given priority to cast their votes.
In Sokoto state, 11.12am
The election commenced as scheduled.
Some voters told Radio Nigeria that the governorship and state Assembly elections were more organised than the Presidential and National Assembly polls.
Photo: Nasir Malali
11am. INEC suspends exercise over vote-buying
INEC has suspended voting for 30 minutes at Bakin Kasuwa Kofar sarkin aska with number 006 in Damagum Fune LGA of Yobe state following alleged vote-buying.
Video: Babagana Mohammed
Police arrest armed thugs in Anambra
The Police Command in Anambra state has arrested five armed thugs in Ihiala, Ihiala local government area of the state.
The Commissioner of Police for Election in Anambra state, Aderemi Adeoye told Journalists that four pump actions were recovered from the thugs.
He alleged that a local government official brought in the thugs before they were apprehended and detained.
The Commissioner of Police reiterated that the command had warned that thuggery would not be tolerated as the security agencies will come hard on anyone who violates the electoral act and guidelines issued by INEC for the conduct of the election.
Woman attacked for raising ballot paper after voting
A woman has been attacked at a polling unit in Tarauni local government area for raising her ballot paper after voting.
The woman was allegedly approached by party agents soliciting for her vote, where she promised to vote for their party.
Shortly after voting, the woman raised the ballot paper for confirmation, which angered others who immediately attacked her.
However, the quick intervention of security agents calmed the situation and the woman was whisked away.
Lafia, the Nasarawa state capital
At Dunama Primary School 058 polling unit, the governorship and state assembly election started at 8:30am, while the first voter at Ungwan Mangu polling unit 032, Mrs. Abigail Anzaku cast her vote at 8:45am.
In an interview with Radio Nigeria, Mrs Anzaku commended INEC for improving on the Presidential and National Assembly election.
Reports from Keffi, Karu, Toto and Obi local government areas of Nasarawa state indicates that electoral materials arrived some of the polling units before 8am awaiting eligible voters.
So far, the exercise is going on smoothly and peacefully with less cases of malfunctioning of the BVAS.
Photo: Chris Nyamtu
Voting is underway in some parts of Taraba State.
Photo: Sani Suleman
INEC officials were on time in most of the polling units visited in Kaduna South and Kaduna North Local Governments.
The process commenced fully in most of the polling units between 8:05 to 8:15am.
In the polling unit 24 where Governor Nasiru El Rufai usually cast his vote, accreditation and election is ongoing simultaneously at exactly 8:40.
Photo: Aminu Dalhatu
Voting is in progress at Agulu ward 2 polling unit 023, in Anaocha local government area of Anambra state.
Accreditation of voters has commenced in some of the polling units in Kano metropolitan area.
At a polling unit at Kano Municipal Kankarofi, voters were seen on an orderly queue and were being accredited by the officials.
At Magawan polling unit in Nasarawa local government area, people came out early to exercise their constitutional rights.
Photo: Abdullahi Jalaluddeen
In Mafa Local government area, voting commenced at exactly 8:30 in the morning with large turn-out of voters in all the polling units visited.
Some of the polling units visited include: Chigowa 02, Mai Sharifti 004, and Maska Lawanti.
Photo: Dauda Iliya
8:50am: In Kwara State
Voting has commenced at Polling Unit 005 Akanbi Ward 4 in Ilorin South local government area of Kwara state.
From Anambra at 8:46am
At Niger drive polling unit, Omata 1 our correspondent reports that INEC officials were on ground and that the BVAS machine was functioning well.
7:40am: In Yobe
INEC dispatched sensitive materials to Sabon Gari Primary School Polling Unit in Potiskum, while accreditation commenced at the polling units at 7:45am.
Editing by Oluwaseyi Ajibade, Annabel Nwachukwu and Tony Okerafor