Voters’ low turn-out mar elections in Abuja, Lagos, Kaduna, Borno, Ebonyi, Zamfara, Akwa Ibom, Adamawa, others

A deserted polling unit in Zamfara state

Reports from our Correspondents across Nigeria indicate that low turn out of voters have been witnessed in various polling unit visited so far.

Particularly in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Lagos, Kaduna, Borno, Ebonyi, Zamfara and other states.

In Abuja, the polling Units which experienced an unprecedented turnout of voters during the February 23 Presidential and National Assembly elections, was more or less deserted when Blueprint correspondent visited the unit at about 9am.

FCT witnessing only local council area election. There are six council area taking part. They AMAC, Abaji, Kuje, Bwari, Gwagwalada and Kwali.

One of the domestic observers, who spoke to Blueprint said the voters were trickling in unlike what the experience was during the earlier polls when the voters arrived even earlier than the INEC officials.

According to him: “It is too early to conclude that voters have given up on the electoral process though the enthusiasm appears to have died down.

“There is still time because the process continues till 2pm. It could be that they just want to avoid stampede. So, we have to wait till the end of voting to conclude that more people voted in the last election.

“While there was little or no vehicular traffic in the area,  our correspondent reports that there was increased movement by residents on foot. Some of them who spoke to Blueprint said that they would not participate in the elections, claiming that winners were already known and there voted don’t count.

According to Ralph Nwankwo,  a trader at the Karu Market: “I am not sure I will vote again until I am sure that votes count in this country. See how we suffered for nothing the last time. For me,  they should allow us go and do our business because to vote is not by force.”

Another resident who identified herself as Margret Ipole and spoke in pidgin English said: “Why dem dey worry person sef? If we suffer vote finish after dem go announce who dem want. Since dem say make we dey house I dey go visit my sister. “

Another resident, Dorothy Damlak, who told our correspondent that she had voted, however said it would have been better to have held the Area Councils elections on the same day with the Presidential and National Assembly elections since FCT doesn’t have governor and House of Assembly.”

In Ebonyi state where both governorship and state assembly elections, Our Correspondent reports that so far election proceedings are peaceful but greeted with low turn out in some areas.

In some areas like Ngalagu, Ntezi community in Ishielu  local government area, few people were seen in cue, waited to vote.

In an interview with some of the electorates at the polling units, Mr Emeka Omabe and Ebeh Ignatius regretted why the INEC could not ratify the card reader challenges.

The chairman of the council, Sunday Eze, whom the care reader took so much time before his was recognised, commended INEC for the smooth election in his area, irrespective of the card reader challenges.

From Borno state, comes a report that poor turn out of eligible voters was the bane of elections there, compared to two weeks ago when the presidential and National Assembly elections held.

In Kaduna state, where Governor Nasir El-Rufai had voted, materials arrived early but voters didn’t turn out in their numbers.

The situation is same in part of Zamfara state. There was low turnout of voters in many polling units as some of the electorates did not show up at their respective polling booths to exercise their civic rights.

In some of the polling units which include, Gagangaren Sarkin Asking, 044, JNI, Danturai, Mayana, GRA, Tudun Wada, Army Barrack 09, Birnin Ruwa polling booths visited by our reporter observed that, the election officials were stranded waiting for voters to come and cast their votes.

Lagos is another state that is witnessing low turn of voters, unlike during the presidential and National Assembly polls.

Meanwhile, the speaker of Adamawa state House of Assembly Hon. Kabiru mijinyawa has expressed disappointment with the low turn out of voters in the ongoing Governorship and House of Assembly election describing it as discouraging.

He stated this in an interview with Blueprint after casting his vote in the ongoing gubernatorial and House of Assembly election in his adarawo ward 009 but noted that people are still being mobilised to come out and cast their votes.

He attributed the low turn out to the pattern of voting system where voters are expected to do accreditation and vote simultaneously unlike in 2015 election but expressed optimism that he will win his re- election and APC will win the state.

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