John Adams, Minna
Former military Head of State, Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar has described as overwhelming the turnout of eligible voters for the Saturday presidential and National Assembly elections, saying that democracy has come to stay in Nigeria.
Gen Abdulsalami also commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for what he called “wonderful job” in the area of logistics.
Speaking in Minna, shortly after exercising his civic responsibility at the Hill-top Poling Unit, he said that from the reports he was receiving from across the country, the commission had been able to put its house in order after the initial hitches.
Abdulsalami, accompanied by his wife, Fati Lamin Abubakar, cast his vote at exactly 11:45am.
“I am quite impressed with the large turnout of voters so far. This has shown that democracy has come to stay in Nigeria; the awareness is high among the people.
“Nigerians are becoming interested in who their leaders are, and this is good for our democracy.”
General Abdulsalami however appealed to politicians to accept the outcome of the results and endeavour to congratulate the winners.
Also speaking after casting his vote in Kontagora his home town, Governor Sani Bello of Niger State, expressed satisfaction on the level of maturity, organisation and calmness displayed at the polling centres by both the electoral officers and the voters.
“I am impressed with the level of maturity and calmness in this polling unit. I hope all other polling centres will be like this.”
According to him, “if other polling units turn out to be like this then, there is a great improvement over what we had in the past and it means Nigeria has come of age.
“If the standard is maintained all over the country, very soon we will progress and our elections will come without any controversies,” the governor said.
He, however, expressed concern over the number of parties on the ballot papers, stressing that “the ballot papers were a bit confusing as a result of the number of political parties.
“One thing I noticed while casting my vote is that the ballot paper is a bit confusing with too many parties. So if you are not careful, you might vote the wrong party of your choice.
“So my advice is for the electorate to take their time, do not rush, be patient, go through the ballot paper carefully and identify the party of their choice.”