My mum and I stroll off at 10:am to the street where we registered. We get there and join the queue where we are promptly told by the lady ahead of us that there are like six people behind her on the queue who went away but will be back shortly, we say “no problem”.
We find a bench away from the scorching sun to sit on beside a foodseller’s corner and I watch her dishing out rice & stew, spaghetti, meat and kpomo, asaro (yam porridge) and agidi (eko) to the hungry voters, to pass the time.
The elderly woman from the PVC episode is assisting the INEC officials and is still smuggling the elderly and pregnant women into the line ahead of everyone else, no one says a word. The police drive by and the ‘street guys’ hail them “ogas anything for us?
I leave my seat and join the slow- moving queue and finally it’s my turn. I submit my PVC, get verified by the card reader machine, my thumbnail is marked with ink and I’m asked to come back by 1:pm, we can all tell that the accreditation will run way past 1 pm seeing as the crowd is swelling by the minute and it’s alread 12:28 pm, but we nod our heads regardless.
And did I mention that someone came and was handing out bottled water (with a political party logo on it) and gala, which was a questionable move. We head home and at 2 0′ clock i call my neighbor who was waiting to be accredited when we left, he tells me voting has not commenced yet. He calls me at 2:17 to say voting is about to commence. We head out.
We arrive at 2:30 and I am number 159 (i hear we are close to 300 people) so I sit and wait my turn.
1-10, 11-20, 21-30…The crowd grumbles endlessly about the slow pace. 31-40, 41-50…an old woman almost faints and they just manage to catch her in time before she falls. There’s an uproar with people blaming the INEC officials slow pace for the near-collapse of ‘mama’. A hefty man gets into a shouting match with the officials and the policeman tries to intervene to calm him down but his voice rings out even louder. Someone announces in Yoruba “ejo te ba ti vote, e ma lo ile”.
It starts to rain and the crowd rushes under the canopy and those that can’t fit under it scatter in every direction to find shelter. A young man comes to where we are seated on the veranda by the food seller and tells us to leave as they want to move some officials and their materials over and people ask him “do you want us to stand in the rain? go and rent another canopy for them.” The man takes offence and hot words are exchanged, peace returns.The rain stops and some people complain that there’s no privacy in the ‘polling booth’ because the crowd surges around the voter under the canopy to get away from the sun that’s out again and they stand within arm’s length only inches away from the voter. The policeman orders the crowd to move a few paces backwards.
My number is called so I join the queue. It’s my turn and I submit my PVC, the lady finds my name and picture in the register, the corper signs and stamps three ballot papers and hands them to me, I move over to the ‘polling booth’ and thumb print beside the party logo(s) of my preferred candidates, I drop the red, black and green ballot papers in the appropriate boxes and head home at 5:47 pm.
I took several pictures but these will do. How did it go at your end?