Politics

Voter Apathy Mars FCT Poll, Despite 1.3 Million Registered Voters

There was a low turnout of eligible voters and late commencement of voting during the Federal Capital Territory Area Council election in Abuja on Saturday.

Several polling units sighted by Our correspondent witnessed a handful of people at polling units.

Also, some of the polling units across the FCT recorded crises in the use of Bimodal Voter Accreditation System technology, which led to the delay in the electoral process

Residents of the FCT are to elect chairmen and councillors for the six Area Councils.

The Area Councils are Abaji, Bwari, Gwagwalada, Kuje, Kwali and Abuja Municipal Area Council.

The election will see the emergence of six chairmen – for each area council, and 62 councillors.

1,373,492 registered voters were expected to participate in the elections for Chairmen and Councillors, in 2,229 polling units but it was gathered that about 103,68 voters collected their Permanent Voters Card.

Over 400 candidates drawn from 14 political parties cleared by the Independent National Electoral Commission and their running mates are currently vying for these positions.

Though markets and shops are closed at AMAC, our correspondent observed that the restriction of vehicular and human movements was partially observed.

The FCT Police Command had announced the imposition of a curfew from 8am to 3pm for the safe conduct of the area council elections.

The police, though had relaxed restrictions earlier on Friday, said it had received more intelligence that some elements were planning to disrupt the electoral process.

At Ward 04 Wuse Polling units 26, Maitama Model Primary School visited by our correspondent, INEC officials were seen on ground but voters were absent as at 9.30am.

The PU which has 5,617 registered voters, is probably one of the largest PUs in the FCT. However, as at 10am, voting was yet to commence.

Sources said that many of the registered voters at the PUs stay a little bit far away from the PUs.

The Assistant Presiding Officer, Muhammad Jamal lamented the low turnout of voters.

He said that for almost two hours election officials arrived at the PU, only three voters had approached them.

Also at Ward 04 Wuse PU131 j Maitama model primary school has only one registered voter.

The PO said that the INEC officials would wait until the close of voting whether the voter comes or not.

At PU15 and 16, Area 8 city centre, it takes about 20 to 30 minutes for each vote to be completed.

At PU 018, Post Office, Municipal Area 10, voting commenced at exactly 8.55am.

At 10.30am, about 150 voters out of 3,311 registered voters had cast their voters.

Presiding Officer, AbdulBaki Jato described the BVAS as efficient, saying it takes about five minutes for accreditation and voting to take place.

An agent of the All Progressive Congress, Aposu Samuel, linked voter apathy to citizens’ lack of interest in council elections.

“Right now, people just vote and go. They are not even interested in seeing the final results. Perhaps it is because it is a council election. They wouldn’t have gone if it were governorship or presidential pool,” he said.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner in the FCT, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, after observing the election at PU 018, Post Office, Municipal Area 10, described the process as smooth, noting that there had been no report of violence.

He hailed residents for maintaining a peaceful atmosphere while urging more citizens to come out and exercise their rights.

Credit: PUNCH.

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