Kogi and Bayelsa States 2019 Governorship Elections
Countdown to Saturday, 16 November 2019, 08:00:00 (Lagos time)

Security Tight as Nigerians Vote in Key Poll
ASABA, Nigeria — Nigerians voted on Thursday in a key state governor’s ballot seen as a test ahead of April’s nationwide elections, with massive security deployed amid fears of further violence.

Police reported no violent incidents in connection with the governor’s election in Delta state, but said arrests had been made after attempts to steal an unspecified number of ballot boxes.

The election in Delta state, located in the main oil-producing Niger Delta region, came after a court invalidated the result of the 2007 vote following fraud allegations and ordered a re-run just months before a new ballot.

“We have deployed 22,600 regular policemen” in addition to bomb experts and more than 2,800 riot police, Delta state police spokesman Charles Muka told AFP. “It is the largest contingent ever deployed for a state election.”

About 1.5 million people were eligible and voting began at noon, officials said.

By late afternoon, some districts were counting after all those eligible had cast ballots, while others were believed to still be voting, electoral commission spokesman Iorwuese Umenger said.

Anyone wishing to vote had to be in line at their polling station before 3:00 pm (1400 GMT) and all those who did so would be allowed to cast ballots, he said.

Umenger reported high turnout in the state capital Asaba, but did not provide numbers.

Police spoke of attempts to steal ballot boxes, but provided few details.

“The election has been very calm. No violence recorded anywhere,” Muka said at around 5:00 pm.

“We had one or two places where there were attempts to snatch ballot boxes. We foiled them and arrests were quickly made.”

Ballot boxes have been stolen in previous elections in the Niger Delta.

“We know it is a test case,” electoral commission head Attahiru Jega, a respected academic, said in a recent television interview.

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