Saturday’s twice—delayed election was to pick members of the country’s National Assembly. The positions remain highly lucrative, with more than $1 million in salaries and benefits, plus the ability to direct a swollen budget in a nation where billions in oil revenues routinely go missing.

Nigeria’s voters put their inked fingers to ballots on Saturday for the first round in the nation’s crucial April election, coming out to vote despite bomb attacks and communal violence.

Poll workers shoved themselves into rickety commercial buses, cars and other vehicles to travel to the roughly 120,000 polling stations spread throughout Africa’s most populous nation. Voting for the nation’s estimated 73.5 million voters largely began at noon across the country.

However, in the restive city of Maiduguri, witnesses said gunmen shot and killed a local politician in northeast Nigeria and set a hotel afire. A bomb later exploded at a market there close to a polling station, though emergency management officials said they had no immediate details about injuries.

Saturday’s twice—delayed election was to pick members of the country’s National Assembly. The positions remain highly lucrative, with more than $1 million in salaries and benefits, plus the ability to direct a swollen budget in a nation where billions in oil revenues routinely go missing.

The election was to be held last Saturday, but national election chairman Attahiru Jega stopped it after ballot papers and tally sheets went missing in many of the country’s polling place. Jega twice postponed the election and about 15 percent of the races still won’t be held Saturday as misprinted ballots delayed them.

Nigeria, home to 150 million people, closed its land borders on Friday. Officials promised to increase security in a nation with a history of flawed elections since it became a democracy in 1999. However, a bomb attack on Friday on an election office in Niger state near the country’s capital killed at least eight people and wounded more than two dozen others.

A statement released on Saturday by the federal police promised to provide election offices 24—hour surveillance to stop future attacks. However, officials have yet to name any suspects in the attack. Meanwhile, a radical Islamic sect killed four people in northeast Nigeria on Friday and an alleged bomber died after the explosive he was carrying detonated in Kaduna state.

Early Saturday, gunmen shot and killed a politician with the All Nigeria People’s Party early Saturday in Maiduguri, a city at the center of violence blamed on a radical Muslim sect known locally as Boko Haram. Gunmen later set fire to the Maiduguri International Hotel ahead of the voting, witnesses told The Associated Press. Police did not immediately comment.

In Ibadan, a city about 90 miles (150 kilometers) inland from Nigeria’s commercial capital of Lagos, one commercial bus traveled over the dirt roads with ballot boxes hanging out of its open windows. It dropped off workers of the Independent National Electoral Commission, with some rushing back to the idling van after realizing they got out at the wrong stop.

In the Molete neighborhood, two polling stations set up next to each other on a dirt road with open sewers. Voters orderly lined up to have their identifications checked, as poll workers nervously murmured to each other about the fact they had no ballots for the vote. The vote remained delayed at 1 p.m., with some voters simply walking away.

“We’re expecting it to be different,” said T.L. Adeyemo, 76, a local government chairman. “What happened last week was an embarrassment to all of us.”

Elsewhere, foreign journalists came across a polling station with a voter list that lacked photographs. Those gathered suspected sabotage, as did those at two other station where they couldn’t find their names.

Still, voters remained upbeat.

“We are not discouraged because we believe in a better Nigeria,” said Folakemi Ayeni, a 29—year—old lawyer.

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