Nwachukwu Egbunike outlines his day at the Polling Unit in Agbowo, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. Photo credits: Damisi Pikuda.
I walked to the polling station near my neighborhood. There were seven officials present. A lady accredits me in less than a minute. She took my Voters Card, and went through their list. Ticks against my name and picture; then hands it over to the second official who assigns a number to me.The third official (standing) inflicts an indelible blue ink on my left thumb and tells me to come back by 12:00 noon to vote. Behind these three INEC staff, were two police officers (male and female) and another guy, sharing the same bench with them.
On the left is a cubicle that is not so closed to induce suspicion and not so open to assure privacy of voters. Just in front of this white cubicle, is the ‘Voters Bag’. The officials are sheltered under a fairly large canopy.
I cracked jokes with the officials but frankly there were quite courteous and I left the polling station in less than a minute after my arrival. All is quiet and serene.
I went back to my Pulling Unit (PU), long queues already. Voting is yet to start. There are two separate lines; one for men and another for women. I think the reason is obvious, this neighborhood is thickly Muslim.
“Pretending” reading a novel because I can’t in this world concentrate. The noise around is amazing, people talking about many things to each other. I can’t understand much, since they speak in Yoruba. However, a guy around me helps by translating.
A Catholic Priest arrives to vote. He walks and takes his place in the long line behind. What an example!
A fellow – I doubt if he is an official, explains the voting procedure. The people are quite attentive.
INEC staff addresses crowd. Seems the elections are about to commence. He says, ‘no campaigning, no bribery.’ The crowd are inpatient, they shout him down. No need explaining the procedure to them again, someone has already done so, besides they voted last week.
The male policeman goes down the queue and calls out the Catholic Priest to join the group of the elderly already seated under the INEC canopy. Surprisingly nobody protests although majority there are Muslims.Methinks both – the priest for not assuming a place of honor without being called to it, and the crowd, for respecting one who is not of their faith – deserves commendation.
An agadi ‘elderly’ woman, she should be above 70 and bent over by arthritis just finished voting. She is lead out by two young women, probably her grandchildren.
The Assistant Presiding Officer (Polls Clerk) alerts the two policemen about two suspicious looking young guys. The policemen take the lead and confront the two fellows. Overheard the o/c telling the guys that, ‘no discussion or persuasion during voting’.
An umbrella sprouts before me. Two guys who had not been there when I came, arrive and said that they had been on the queue. I asked from the elderly man standing before me and he confirmed their claims. However I am grateful for the shade of this branded umbrella of a beer ad – “one people, one beer!” Other umbrella’s carry are marked with different logos, like the one in the picture below.
It’s my turn and I move up to the INEC canopy. I am given the ballot paper and move into the cubicle to ‘press my thumb’. Prior to that, I asked the INEC staff, to identify a lady standing nearby, she was wearing a branded shirt but I could not read the prints. He responds that’s she is from Transition Monitoring Group (TMG).
I cast my vote and then had a chat with the TMG madam.
Return to the PU, collation of results in progress.
Presiding Clerk dismantles the cubicle used by voters to thumbing their ballot papers.
Party agents sign Result Sheet. ANPP signs first, followed by that of PDP and others do likewise.
Presiding officer signs and stamps Result Sheet in the presence of all – party agents, election observers, police, civil defense corp and some voters.
Presiding officer gives duplicate of signed forms to party agents, election observers and policewoman. Afterwards TMG staff leaves, the party agents follow suit.
INEC officials and police also depart.
SOME INFORMATION ON THE RESULT SHEET
No of voters in register: 690
Accredited Voters: 255
No in queue before voting commenced: 245
No of ballot papers: 600
No of total valid votes (sum total of all parties) 245
Party No of Votes