Imagine standing patiently in line, waiting to vote, and suddenly men with guns arrive on motorcycles and start shooting.
Imagine men dashing into your polling unit, violently seizing ballot boxes, and taking them away.
Imagine other ballot boxes being destroyed.
Imagine being beaten to keep you from voting for a particular candidate.
Imagine a crowd of people chanting “we must vote! We must vote!” when polling workers failed to arrive as expected.
Imagine the police doing very little. All these things happened during the Nigerian presidential elections on Saturday, February 25, 2023.
Through it all, there was a chilling lack of transparency from the Independent National Electoral Commission, or I.N.E.C., which oversees elections.
Nigerian elections have a history of being rigged, of cooked-up numbers and stolen ballot boxes. This time, though, Nigerians were asked to place their faith in a new electronic voting system that would make tampering more difficult.