Voter apathy mars Jigawa LG poll

Voters in Nigeria


By Abdullahi Mohammed/Muhammad Nasir-Bashir

Saturday’s Jigawa State local Government election, recorded low turnout of voters, as only a handful of voters were seen in polling units, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

NAN correspondents who monitored the exercise in some of the council areas reports that there was voter apathy in most of the polling units during the poll.

Some of the areas visited included Kiyawa, Jahun, Dutse, Babura, Suletankarkar and Gumel LGAs.

Accreditation and voting opened for the prospective voters in Babura at about 8 am at polling unit 002, the registration area code of Gov. Muhammad Badaru, amid low voter turnout.

NAN reports that as at 11:23 a.m. only 300 people of the 900 registered voters cast their votes and not many electorate were seen on the queue for possible accreditation and voting.

The Presiding Officer, Bashir Musa, said they were expecting the state governor to come and vote before closing by 3 pm.

In Kiyawa, Jahun, Suletankarkar and Gumel, the election also witnessed low turnout of voters in most polling units visited while children were seen playing around some of the centres.

However, some of the voters expressed delight at participating in the election.

Alhaji Muhammad Ibrahim, a voter in Babura, attributed the low voter turnout to the farming season.

Ibrahim said many electorates who voted in the election rushed to their farmlands while others returned home.

Another electorate, Garba Adamu, alleged that voters had shown little interest in the election because they were not expecting appreciation from either political parties or candidates for “vote buying.”

He, however, expressed the hope that the turnout would improve before the close of the election.

Also, some of the electorates attributed the voter apathy to low participation of opposition parties in the election.

Abdullahi Muhammad, a voter, advocated for sound legislations to empower INEC to conduct council elections in the country.

“Council election should be organised and conducted by INEC to avoid manipulation by the state governors,” he said.

Muhammad said the measure would make council election credible, transparent and fair.

However, Abdulmutallab Shafi’u, who voted at Babura Special Primary School polling unit, said the exercise recorded high turnout of voters.

Shafi’u said most people went home or to their businesses after casting their votes.

The exercise was generally peaceful in all the 27 local government areas of the state.

Eighteen political parties fielded candidates for the 27 chairmanship and 288 councillorship positions in the election, according to the Jigawa State Independent Electoral Commission (JISIEC).

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) had deployed over 3,500 personnel to facilitate smooth conduct of the exercise.