AFTER getting accredited at exactly 11.50am and voted by 2.55pm, the Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, has said that Nigeria’s democracy has reached an advanced stage.
Aganga, who voted at Ward 8, Polling Unit 012, Eti-Osa Local government, along Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, praised the efforts of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the efforts put into the exercise, describing it as highly professional.
His counterparts from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, also praised the efforts of INEC.
Obanikoro, who got accredited at exactly 11. 40 am and voted 2.15pm said he was optimistic that President Goodluck Jonathan would win Lagos.
Obanikoro, while speaking to newsmen after casting his votes, said though voting was peaceful at his ward, that does not mean it will be the same in other part of the states.
“But I want to sound a note of caution that the situation in other part of Lagos is not what obtains here. There are issues around card reader malfunctioning and many people run the risk of been disenfranchised but we hope that INEC acts quickly on that. The entire country should not be turned into a guinea pig with these card readers. It should have been tested with smaller elections before being deployed for the presidential election, he added.
Obanikoro, who said he was satisfied with the process, noted that those who may have been denied voting as a result of malfunctioning card reader, may be allowed to vote tomorrow, according to what INEC said before now.
” It depends on the number of card readers that malfunctions. If the numbers are huge, I mean those affected, then, there is problem. But if it is marginal, I think they can reconduct the election the next day. Hope not lost.
“What is happening is to take a cue from Ghana’s Presidential election few years ago, where those who didn’t vote on the main date were allowed to vote the next day. But I don’t pray for that in Nigeria.
” It is the totality that will determine. If 25 per cent of people are marginalized across board, there will be need to review the process but if its marginal like two or three per cents, I think the society can gloss over that “, Obanikoro said.
Speaking on the security situation, Obanikoro said in some areas it has been peaceful, ” but information from areas like Isale Eko, Epetedo, Alimosho, Ikorodu, Oshodi, Mushin and others in that category are challenged areas. So the presence of security forces would be appreciated.”
For Aganga, its been a smooth process all through.According to him, the electioneering process has been very competitive and “I think the whole process is for Nigeria not about any individual. It is about allowing the government that had been performing to continue. The argument for continuity is genuine.”
According to him, the next four years will be critical in the history of Nigeria, stressing that it is important for Nigeria to have a steady ship and someone to stir it.
“Govt that is performing should not be changed. I congratulate the political parties. They have been very mature and have fought a good fight. It is a sign of advancement in Nigeria’s democracy.
” When Nigerians speak today, we should respect their decisions”, Aganga stressed.