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2019 presidential and National Assembly elections peaceful - Abdulsalam, Obasanjo, Saraki, Oshiomhole, Jonathan, observers

2019 presidential and National Assembly elections peaceful - Abdulsalam, Obasanjo, Saraki, Oshiomhole, Jonathan, observers
A voter casts his vote at a polling unit in Jikwoyi Phase 3, Abuja yesterday Photo: Abubakar Yakubu

2019 presidential and National Assembly elections peaceful - Abdulsalam, Obasanjo, Saraki, Oshiomhole, Jonathan, observers

Leaders, top politicians and international observers have reacted to the conduct of the 2019 presidential and National Assembly elections from across the country.

A former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd) called contestants for various positions to accept whatever outcome that the exercises throw up in good faith.

In an interview with newsmen after casting his vote at the Uphill Water Tank Polling Unit in Minna, Niger State on Saturday, the former Nigeria leader said contending parties and their candidates should put the nation first above personal interest.

The former Head of State who is also the chairman of the Nigeria Peace Committee thanked God that the exercise has so far been peaceful even as he urged Nigerians to sustain the tempo.

General Abubakar was impressed by the turnout of the electorate and commended the conduct of the election by INEC officials.

The former leader voted at about 10:45 am along with his wife, Justice Fati Abubakar.

Also, former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday asked candidates in presidential and parliamentary elections to display spirit of sportsmanship by accepting outcome of the polls.

He spoke with newsmen shortly after he cast his votes at Unit 11 Olusomi Compound, Sokori, Abeokuta, Ogun State.

Obasanjo, however, bemoaned late arrival of election materials at his polling unit, but described the election as orderly.

He said in any competition there will always the winners and losers and what anybody in any competition must be prepared for as a good sportsman is “if I win, I will show magnanimity, if I lose, I will also bow out graciously. That’s what any competition is all about. You can’t say if you are going into any competition, you must win at all cost. Then it is no longer a competition.”

The Head of the African Union (AU) Election Observation Mission to Nigeria, Hailemarian Deselegn, described the presidential and National Assembly election in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as “generally peaceful.”

However, the former Ethiopian Prime Minister decried delay of arrival of election materials and commencement of voting in some areas, as well as faulty card readers.

He said their mission followed the African Charter for Democracy, Elections and Good Governance, as well as Election Observation and Good Conduct, both of which have Nigeria as a signatory.

“But there are areas that need attention such as delays in materials and voting. In Nyanya, for instance, there were problems because of delay of election materials. Voting in some units was delayed up to one hour,” he noted.

Deselegn further hinted that the team would unveil its final position and recommendations in its reports on Monday, when the elections would have been concluded.

The AU team, which also comprised the Commissioner for Political Affairs, AU Commission, Samate Cessouma, as well as other diplomats, visited over eight polling units across the FCT.

These include PU 009, Wuse Zone 3; PU 001, Tudun Wada; PU 026, Maitama; PU 005 and 024 both in Gwarinpa; PU 001, Orozo and PU 014, Jikwoyi, Abuja; among others.

An observer from Sierra Leone, Madam Fatima Sawani,  who spoke with our correspondent on behalf of her counterparts from other countries at the Aso Drive polling unit in Abuja, however, observed that the voters needed to be educated more on voting and folding of the ballot papers to avoid having multiple invalid votes.

She also expressed displeasure over low turn-out of political parties’ agents at the polling units, saying it was a bad omen for democracy.

By Muideen Olaniyi, Saawua Terzungwe & Ozibo Ozibo (Abuja), Ahmed Tahir Ajobe, (Minna), Kabiru R. Anwar, (Yola), Bassey Willie, (Yenagoa), Romoke W. Ahmad, (Ilorin), Peter Moses, (Abeokuta) & Usman A. Bello, (Benin)

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