John Adams, Minna
There was generally a low turn out of voters in the local government elections in Niger state on Saturday even as the conduct of the election has been peaceful.
The over four million voters in the state went to the Polls on Saturday to elect their Council Chairmen for the 25 Local Government and 274 Councils in the state.
The state governor, Abubakar Sani Bello while casting his vote at the Alkali Mustapha polling unit in Kontagora described the turn out as very low but expressed optimism that it may improve later in the day.
The Governor who cast his vote at about 12 noon noted that, “The turn out is low. However, during the general elections, initially there was low turnout but before the end of the day, there were improvements in the turnout. So I expect there will be an improvement.”
He commended the people in the state and the state Independent Electoral Commission (NSIEC) for the peaceful conduct and organization of the election saying he had not heard of any complain or news of violence anywhere.
“I have not heard of any complain. There is no major complain anywhere in the state. I commend NSIEC for its organization and the peaceful conduct of the election. From what I have seen, they have coordinated the elections well.”
Bello further hoped that the entire election would be peaceful and orderly in the 25 local government areas.
The former commissioner for information and culture, Mallam Danjuma Salau said that the low turn could be attributed to lack of trust in the electoral process by the people.
“When the people nolonger have confidence in the electoral process, there bound to be apathy by the people.
“Again our politicians must learn to fufil electoral promises to the people so that they can be encouraged to come out and elect their leaders”.
However our Correspondent observed that there was delay in commencement of voting in Chanchaga Local Government Area over alleged use of untrained personnel as polling officers.
In up till mid day voting was yet to commence in most polling units; at General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar up hill polling station of Sabongari, Rashida polling unit, Tundun Wada 1, Nasarawa B in the Local Government Area of Niger state, over 200 voters were seen waiting for materials but gradually disperse with few people on ground by the time materials arrived about 1 pm.
When our correspondent visited the NSIEC office at Chanchaga local government secretariat , some officials who prefer anonymity said the delay in arrival of material in Chanchaga local government was due to mixed up in the polling officers trained for the election.
It was learnt that PDP agents have raised eyebrows that not those trained as polling officers were given materials for the election.
Consequently the delay was to sort out the difference to ensure that impostors are not used as polling officers.