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Barnabas Augustine

Peaceful election has again been recorded in Yola Town of Yola South Local Government Area as eligible electorates voted for their desired candidates on Saturday, 9th March rescheduled gubernatorial and State House of Assembly elections.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had deployed its staff and ad-hoc staff with voting materials ahead of the 8:00am voting time in most of the Polling Units in Yola which made it possible for voters to be accredited and vote as scheduled.

Our correspondent who was at some of the wards in Yola reported that in Toungo Ward, election had started at 8:10am at Polling Units  9, 10 and 4 located in Toungo and Hammawa Primary Schools. Voters were in queue and conformed to the election procedure. Albeit, the voters did not turn out en masse at the early hours compare to the 23rd February Presidential and National Assembly election. Aside the malfunction of a card reader deployed to Polling Unit 9 which delayed voting but was later fixed, it was a snag free election at the units.

In Makama A Ward, Polling Units 11, 4 and 14 situated in Comprehensive Primary School Damare, there was low turnout of voters but the election process was coordinated accordingly by INEC ad hoc staff and the voters followed the process in orderly manner. According to Mal. Buba who cast his vote before 10:00am decried voter apathy which manifested on March 9th polls. He said unlike the February 23rd elections in which there was unprecedented turnout of electorates at his unit which took him several hours in queue before he discharged his civic responsibility, he spent less than an hour to vote in Gubernatorial and House of Assembly polls because of the low turnout of voters.

At Poling Units 7, 8, 10, 11 and 12 of Makama B in Sanda Primary School, the voting process was hitch free but with voters’ apathy recorded having the number of electorates dropped at the polling units. Before 2:00pm most of the voters have cast their votes and stayed aside waiting for the time for counting of vote.

In Damare Primary School where Poling Units 1, 2, 3, 9 and 13 of Makama B Ward was, there was also low turnout of electorates. According to Haj. Maman Indo who was sited fetching water close to the poling units said that she is done with 2019 election since 23rd February because she has one candidate to vote for in this year’s polls. But Usman Sarki an Election Observer opined that voters education in Nigeria should start two years before election because there are a considerable  number of voters who are yet to know their civic responsibility. Sarki called on eligible voters to participate in all polls in any election because that will enable them to vote for a credible candidate that will bring development to their doorstep.

In Mbamba Ward, polling Units 13 in Upper Benue Primary School and 14 in Wuro Jabbe Primary School Sabon Pegi, there was a hitch free election. Mohammed Abubakar who cast his vote in Polling Unit 14 applauded the voting process which he said is faster compare to last elections but decried on the low turnout of voters. He added that if voters continue to boycott elections it will jeopardize the essence of democracy in Nigeria because desperate politicians may use the opportunity to manipulate election results.

What was peculiar at the wards our correspondent visited was voters forming groups and stay away from poling units with the intent to catch the attention of vote buyers. According to some voters who perpetrate the act and preferred concealment said that they resorted to pretend not to vote because some desperate political party’s agents will come to them for negotiation to vote for their candidates. Though they said it is not yielding positive results as they hitherto envisioned however some groups have succeeded in getting money from their targets. They added, the agents were reluctant because of the strict measures taken in tackling vote buying by relevant security agencies.

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