Elections Witness low Voters’ Turnout in Nasarawa, FCT


Voters on queue

By our Reporters
Abuja, March 9, 2019 (NAN) The Gubernatorial, House of Assembly and FCT area councils elections on Saturday witnessed low turnout of voters at the various polling units across Mararaba and Masaka in Nasarawa state and Abuja Muncipal Area Council.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondents, who visited some polling units in the areas, reports that the turnout was low compared to the Presidential and National Assembly elections held on Feb. 23.

NAN reports that INEC officials with sensitive materials arrived by 7:30 a.m. under the watch of security personnel comprising officials of Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

NAN correspondent, who went round major roads in the area, reports that though the restriction commenced by 8 a.m., but as early as 6:30 a.m. most roads were already deserted.

However, few people were seen trekking to polling units to locate where they are supposed to vote.

NAN observed the presence of security personnel in the most of the areas, while major roundabouts were blocked by security agents.

Also at the polling unit 005 in Jeun Primary school, Masaka, sensitive and insensitive materials arrived by 7:30 a.m.

Mr Bob Omale, the presiding officer in the unit said 3,547 voters were expected to vote but the turnout was very low compared to what was recorded in the presidential and national assembly elections.

He, therefore, said that he was optimistic that more people would still come out to vote before the 2 p.m. deadline.

NAN reports that the low turnout of voters delayed accreditation and voting in the unit till 9:10 a.m.

Meanwhile, at the various polling units across Karu, Jikwoyi, Nyanya, Kugbo and Orozo in the FCT, there were poor turnout of voters.

At polling unit 009 in Area D Nyanya Primary School, there was poor turnout of voters as accreditation and voting began at 8:10 a.m.

Similarly, at polling unit 005 in Karu, New Nyanya, INEC officials and electoral materials arrived early and before 8 a.m.

The presiding officer in charge of the polling unit, Mr Cyril Eteng, said that the turnout of voters was not impressive as not more than 50 voters had arrived the centre.

NAN also observed that the turnout was very low at the polling unit compared to the previous elections where massive turnout was recorded.

Also food vendors, drinks and snacks sellers and other traders were not allowed to enter the polling unit.

Security personnel from the police, civil defence, army, FRSC, were also present at most polling units to maintain law and order.

Also, at Nyanya market polling unit 001 and 002, there were voters’ apathy as only 15 voters were on the queue for accreditation and voting as at 8:53 a.m.

Some traders were seen selling vegetables, plantain, groundnut and other food items, while motorcycle operators were also seen going about their normal businesses.

At polling unit 003, Health Centre, Agwangiwa by Old Karu Chief Palace, INEC officials and electoral materials were on ground at the polling unit and accreditation and voting started by 8.05 a.m.

The presiding officer, Mr Michael Okechukwu, said INEC officials and voting materials were available, while accreditation started at 8.15 a.m., with very few voters’ turnout.

In the same manner, polling unit 001 in Orozo Primary School recorded low voters’ turnout, while accreditation and voting started at 8 a.m. in the unit.

NAN gathered that the INEC Officials slept in the primary school, which has 12 polling units (PU) to enable them carry out their duties efficiently and timely.

At polling unit 016, pyape village, Nyanya, sensitive materials arrived as early as 7.50a.m.

The presiding officer, Mr Odihi George said that people were behaving normally and the election started at about 8a.m.

He said the card readers were working perfectly, while accreditation and voting was taking place simultaneously.

Odihi said that most people who come with dirty hands had little problem with the card readers.

Akuve Elochukwu, a voter, said they are not satisfied with the low turnout of voters.

At the polling unit 009 in Kugbo primary school, Mr Joseph Ngbede, Presiding officer (PO) told NAN that 1,524 electorate were expected to vote in the 3 units.

Ngbede, who confirmed that card readers were working effectively expressed hope that the turnout would still improve later since the voting just started and expected to end at 2p.m.

Mr Ademola Ajomale, a domestic election observer, decried the low turnout of electorate compared with Feb. 23 presidential and National Assembly polls.

“People are really not happy following what happened at the last poll in which they voted with the whole of their heart but felt their votes did not count.

“About 80 per cent of electorate from this unit voted in the last polls.

“I believe voters will equally turnout soon since voting ends at 2p.m,” he added.

He, however, urged voters to come out and vote for candidates of their choice, saying this would only happen again in 4 years.

A voter, Mr Calab Nathaniel, said that he was not surprised that voters refused to turn out, saying that voters were discouraged following what happened in the last polls.

“It takes the grace of God to come out this time around. I am equally not happy.

“Most people are pained and they regretted ever voting the last time.

“I just want to urge Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to be neutral and ensure they are fair,” he said.

NAN also gathered that election materials arrived on Friday, 11p.m with security agents in most polling units to avoid delay. (NAN)

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