Today I turn 24. I had in mind to reflect on what i had hoped to achieve and what I actually did achieve. But I’m in a bad mood (sort of), I’m sick and all alone at home. Instead I’m going to reminisce about birthday things that has never happened for or to me.
I’ve never gotten a birthday card
Not from lovers. Not from friends. Not from family. Last year, my mum wished me happy birthday on Facebook. And we live in the same house. Go figure!
Never gotten birthday balloons
What am I, 6? But still, a girl can hope, right?
Never had a birthday cake.
At least not one I can remember. I supposedly had a cake when I turned 1 but since I can’t remember it and there are no pictures to prove it, I’m sticking to my story, I’ve never had a birthday cake.
I am immensely grateful to God Who Has preserved us to witness this day and this occasion. Today marks a triumph for Nigeria and an occasion to celebrate her freedom and cherish her democracy. Nigerians have shown their commitment to democracy and are determined to entrench its culture. Our journey has not been easy but thanks to the determination of our people and strong support from friends abroad we have today a truly democratically elected government in place.
I would like to thank President Goodluck Jonathan for his display of statesmanship in setting a precedent for us that has now made our people proud to be Nigerians wherever they are. With the support and cooperation he has given to the transition process, he has made it possible for us to show the world that despite the perceived tension in the land we can be a united…
I am African. A full blooded Nigerian for that matter. I’m Igbo by origin, Yoruba by birth and was bred in the North. I have traveled to several countries in Africa so I think I have a pretty clear idea of how we live as Africans. I have always listened with incredulity to the complaints of my friends who live abroad about the ignorance of some people and the unbelievably common misconceptions about Africa and Africans. I would really like to correct that here. The media (this includes hollywood) often portrays this continent in a very inaccurate manner; spinning salacious yarns that have little or no bearing on the continent. Yes, like every other country, we have destitute people, hungry people, sick people that the government cannot fully cater for and our fair share of criminals but this does not in any way mean that we live in the stone…
While the results of yesterday’s election is yet to be announced, there are some very interesting, funny and not-so-funny facts (and hearsay of course).
Lateness of Polling Officials and materials: While the accreditation process was supposed to commence by 8 am, most polling officers and their materials were yet to arrive at their units around 10am. It’s to the determination of voters that they didn’t erupt into violence especially as security personnel were largely absent.
Malfunctioning Card-Readers: Despite INEC’s insistence on the use of card readers for accreditation of voters, the card readers malfunctioned in most polling units across the country. It wouldn’t register voter’s fingerprints for confirmation of identity. It so happened that voters were advised to wash their hands and dry accordingly before coming for the accreditation. Washing sections were even set up in some polling units. I think they were trying to say that the card readers weren’t dirt friendly, eh?
Due to the widespread malfunctioning of card readers, electoral officers were advised to manually check voters cards against a hard copy of the voters roll.
Still on the card readers, the president was among those affected by this pesky thing. I read somewhere that the President had to be on the queue for two hours (and three card readers after) in the sun before he was accredited manually by facial recognition. What’s up with that?
But while the President was sweating it out in the sun (I hope he had an umbrella), the presidential candidate for the opposition, Buhari, and his wife arrived their polling unit in Daura exactly 8:43am and it took just less than five minutes for them to be accredited. Is that significant or what?
Is it also significant that these annoying card readers only malfunctioned in the South?
The Electoral Process: While the voting itself could be said to be generally free and peaceful, they were not free of influences. Party officers and agents could be seen canvassing for votes for their candidates. They offered enticements of sorts, mostly cash but in a polling unit in Onitsha, a party allegedly actually distributed rice in takeout plates to voters who agreed to vote for their candidate(s). How they planned to confirm that was unknown to me since the ballot was a secret one.
Misconducts and Violence: Despite the widespread peaceful election, some areas of the country weren’t so peaceful. I heard that ballot boxes were snatched in some polling units in the southeast. I thought we’ve grown beyond that kind of thing. Apparently, desperate politicians and their agents abound. Six INEC officials were kidnapped in Enugu. An INEC vehicle conveying officials and materials was hijacked and the officials assaulted. Series of shootings were reported in some parts of Rivers State with four recorded deaths, one of them a soldier. Explosions were reported in Enugu and Anambra States but no casualties. Of course Boko Haram could not remain silent. They purportedly killed about 40 persons and disrupted elections in some parts of the northeast.
Elections were postponed till Sunday in about 300 polling units across the country due to technical glitches as INEC stated but I hear that electoral officials didn’t show up in most polling units yesterday. Election results were also cancelled in some states like Kano, Rivers.
Some other noteworthy events of the day included:
a 117-year-old voter at Gombe state showed up to cast his vote.
A guy seized the opportunity to propose to his girlfriend in one polling station. It made for entertainment for voters in the sun. Voters suggested they get married on Inauguration day and name one of their children PVC. 🙂
That’s all for now. The results would soon be announced.