About 11,000 Beninese nationals on Sunday converged at the Republic of Benin’s Consulate-General’s Premises in Lagos to vote in their country’s presidential election.
Most of the nationals who came from Badagry, Ijanikin, Sango and other communities in Lagos, arrived at the polling centre as early 7:00 a.m. for accreditation.
Mr Joel Houndolo, an Elections Supervisor in Benin’s National Electoral Commission (CENA), told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines of the election that he was impressed with the people’s turnout.
``Even outside our country, we have here about 11,000 Beninese happily coming out in Lagos to participate in their nation’s Presidential election.
``This is the second time that we are having our elections in Nigeria, and we are very happy with the interest of the Beninese resident in Nigeria in taking part in our national elections from here.
``Let me also say that their interest in voting in our country’s election from here, also shows the peace they are enjoying in Lagos and across Nigeria,’’ he said.
Houndolo said that the votes would be counted at the premises, before being forwarded `securely’ to Benin’s National Electoral Commission (CENA) for the general announcement of the results, with others from across the world.
Dr Faustin Kpanou, Consul-General of the Republic of Benin in Lagos, said that the conduct of the election in Nigeria was to further promote the existing cooperation between Benin Republic and Nigeria.
Kpanou commended the Federal Government, as well as the Lagos State Government for providing the consulate with 50 policemen, to ensure the peaceful conduct of the election in Lagos.
The consul-general said that his government and Beninese resident in Nigeria would continue to enjoy the ‘’friendship and neighbourliness’’ currently existing between the two countries.
``We have decided to bring our democracy to the doorsteps of Nigeria and other countries, as a way of telling them that we will continue to be partners in progress.
``We need to know that we have the same culture, traditions and a lot to learn from ourselves politically, economically and otherwise.
``The peaceful and orderly conduct of our presidential election here in Lagos today is for us to know that we are neighbours and friends,’’ he said.
A Beninese community leader in Lagos, Chief Albert Ayinde, shortly after casting his vote, told NAN that he was `really happy’ participating in his country’s election from Lagos.
He commended his government for making it possible for their nationals outside their country to determine who they wanted as their leader.
Another Beninese, Mermoz Lidehou, also express satisfaction at the peaceful conduct of the election, adding that it was his first experience to vote outside his country.
A NAN Correspondent, who monitored the election, reported that the election was conducted under heavy security presence, where eligible voters were requested to present their voters’ cards before entry into the premises.
Voters were also led out of the premises soon after casting their votes by officials of Benin’s National Electoral Commission.