The Director General, National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman, has decried poor turn out of voters during Saturday March 18, 2023 governorship and state’s House of Assembly elections.
He warned that citizens of various states where such happened would have themselves to blame should anything happen thereafter in terms of bad governance.
Sulaiman, a former minister, national planning made the statement while speaking with reporters in Ilorin, on Saturday.
“There is voters apathy. I am not impressed. If democracy is indeed about the mass majority of the people, what we are seeing today is not encouraging.
“Poor turnout of voters, I don’t see any improvement with that of last election.
“Ordinarily, today’s election should be more participatory and the turnout should be more impressive, because the election is state affair and it is the closest to the people.
“The closest is the local government and where there is no local government election, gubernatorial and state assembly election should be the closest on comparative basis to what obtained during the last election”, he said.
The NILDS DG said he was expecting people to come out and determine who govern them at the state level.
He said with the poor turnout, which he described as unimpressive, the tendency manipulation was very high.
“If we have this kind of turn out here, at this point, you can imagine what will happen at the collation centre.
“Especially when there are no people to observe and carry out their responsibility, then you allow room for lots of manipulation here and there,“ he said.
He berated the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), for failing to correct the issue of late arrival of electoral officials and materials to polling units.
“They promised on several occasions that their members of staff and officers will get to their various polling unit in good time, but again, the same thing happened as in the last election.
“We expected progression, improvement and development in order to move forward, but unfortunately we are moving backward in our democracy status.
“At our level as an agency under national assembly, we expect people that are indeed the choice of the people as political office holder and not those that are reflections of the minority wishes.
“That is not democracy. If anything happens thereafter, in terms of bad governance, you don’t blame anybody,” he said.