In spite of security presence in voting centres across the country to guarantee safety, reports from some parts of the country indicate that voters’ turnout for governorship and state assembly elections was not impressive.
In the Federal Capital Territory and its neighbouring states for instance, voters gave many reasons why some voters did not come out in the election as they did during the Presidential and National Assembly elections on Feb. 23.
Investigations show that no fewer than 2,406 registered voters were expected to vote for candidates of their choice contesting for chairmanship and councillorship positions in Abuja in the Municipal Area Council (AMAC), only few of the voters were seen on queue for voting after accreditation in some voting centres as at the time of filing this report.
Irrespective of unimpressive turnout, accreditation and voting began at 8.10 a.m at Polling Unit 009, Area D, Nyanya Primary School, near Abuja and some other units in the area.
Some of the voters observed that the low turnout at some units in the area could be attributed to the cancelation of some votes in the centre during the Presidential and National Assembly Elections.
“How do you expect people to come out and vote again when their votes were cancelled in the last election; many people have decided to stay in their homes and rest,’’ Mrs Jane Obor, a voter said.
Similarly, Mrs Zainab Ayuba, a voter, said that the low turnout of voters was expected because some residents of Nyanya area of Nasarawa State had complained that they would not vote in any election until the government provided some basic facilities in the area.
“Look at the roads in Nyanya, since we have been voting, the roads have remained very bad; many people have gone for their business in the market,’’ she said.
But Mr Charles Ozioko, a voter, attributed lack of mobilisation of voters by the aspirants and political parties as reason for the low turnout for the election.
“People are not well mobilised and motivated hence the reason for the apathy, look at how this place is empty (pointing to polling centre) and compare this to Feb. 23 elections when there was massive crowd.
“In spite of the functionality of the card readers in the five polling points of the unit, low turnout of voters is visible in all the voting points’’, he said.
In Suleja and Tafa local government areas of Niger, although the election materials arrived early in duty stations, voters’ turnout was low.
In spite of the low turnout, voting began at 8.18 a.m in Polling Unit 007, Maje ward Suleja and in some other polling units in the area.
Suleiman Rabiu, a resident of Kaduna Road, Suleja and a party member, however expressed concern about the low turnout of voters even with his party’s campaign to members to come out.
But Mr Nura Atiku, one of the electorate, observed that some Nigerians were more concerned about the Presidential and National Assembly elections.
In Lagos State, some voters and party agents at Lagos Island complained about low turnout of voters, suggesting fear of violence and malfunctioning of some electoral materials as possible reasons.
“We are surprised that people are not coming out to vote and we have been sending people to go and call them; in fact, we have been begging them to come and vote.
“All we want is good governance from whoever wins the election,’’ Mrs Samiat Dosunmu, 71, said.
Alhaja Mulikat Oliyide, nonetheless, said that Nigerians should keep praying for the country that peace should reign during and after the elections.
“Some people had kept their children indoor for the fear of violence so we have been going from house to house to call them since there is no violence.
“Let us continue to pray for our leaders to lead us right, we know Nigeria will be great again,’’ she said.
Similarly, Mr Saheed Olalere, a party stalwart, complained about the low turnout for the elections, saying that some members of the party had been assigned to go out with bells and call out voters.
Mr Olanrewaju Ajenifuja, a party agent, ascribed the low turnout to the issue of card readers which did not function well during the Presidential and National House of Assembly Elections.
“The people had probably given up because of the challenge we had during the last exercise of the Feb. 23 election, we, as stakeholders, are not happy with the challenge,’’ he said.
Electoral officials arrived late at various polling units in Agboyi Ketu LCDA of Kosofe local government area. They started arriving the polling units at around 12:30pm
“The officials came very late. We want them to extend the time for the close of voting,” said a voter, Bankole Adams, who spoke to our correspondent
They called for further extension of the deadline to about 5pm, as they were five hours behind scheduled commencement time.
In Port Harcourt, although there was low turnout in some polling centres, some people were seen carrying out their civic duty peacefully and orderly with help of unarmed security operatives.
Mr Larry Prince, Presiding Officer of Rumueibekwe Ward 6 Polling Unit 11, announced that voting started 8:10 a.m. in the station.
The residents of the area observed that most polling units had low voters turnout while many of them attribute the apathy to fear of insecurity.
“The low turnout may have been caused by early prediction that election maybe violent in the state’’, a voter, Mrs Chizoba Nengi, said.
Also in Ekiti, the elections recorded low turnout of voters, a situation that remained at the time of filing this report.
A number of residents were seen moving about freely on the streets contrary to the restriction directive.
Some towns where voters’ apathy was outstanding in the early hours of the day were Ado Ekiti, the state capital, Ifaki-Ekiti, Ijero-Ekiti and Emure- Ekiti, among others.(NAN)