Voter apathy trails governorship, State Assembly Elections in Kwara
The Governorship and State House of Assembly election in Kwara State was trailed by vote apathy as there was no enthusiasm on the part of the electorate, despite the early arrival of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at many of the polling units.
In some of the polling units visited by our Corrspondent, the INEC presiding officers arrived as early as 7 : 20 am and election commenced by 8 am and 8 : 30 in some polling units.
At polling unit 014, Isale Maliki, Ita Kolo, Ilorin South, INEC officers arrived by 7:20 am and the vote commenced by 8:33 am after the display of BVAS screening to all the party agents by the INEC presiding officer.
At Idi-Ape, Magaji Aare Ward 1, Ilorin East, where the governorship candidate of Social Democratic Party (SDP) Hakeem Lawal, cast his vote, the story was the same as few people turnout.
Speaking with Journalist, after casting his vote at exactly 9:50 am at polling unit 003, Lawal said “as you can see there was voter apathy, people have not come out enough, I don’t know why, possibly transport issues, may be delayed in the process, the only thing I observed while coming is that security outfits blocked a lot of routes, this affects people’s movement.
“It is indirectly disenfranchising them, people should be able to move, to go and vote.
“We all have our voter cards, so you can tell from my card where I’m going to vote, so you should be able to allow me to move.
“The BVAS is another issue, we may not be able to tell if it worked effectively or not until we see how it goes today”, he said.
Lawal said that it was too early to determine the conduct of the governorship elections as voting was still ongoing.
At polling unit 010, Gbabiamidun, Opo-Malu in Ilorin South, where the Director General (DG) of the People Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Professor Ali Ahmad cast his vote, the INEC arrived by 7:40 am and voting commenced by 8:20 am.
Speaking, “the atmosphere was peaceful but the turnout was not impressive, some of us have predicted it due to what happened last time, the expectation of the people apparently was different from the declared result because of so many factors, so you could expect that people would lose interest,” Ahmad said
Similarly, the Cheif of staff to president Mohammadu Buhari, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, who voted at polling unit 004 Akanbi ward, Ilorin South local government area, Ilorin, expressed delight about the peaceful conduct of the election and commended INEC.
“I am happy, the election has been very peaceful, calm. I want to ask our people to conduct themselves in orderly manner throughout the period. One of the legacies that President Muhammadu Buhari wants to bequeath to Nigeria is free conduct and credible election conduct. Mr President is committed to peaceful transition,” Gambari said.
Also speaking, the Director General (DG) National Institute for Legislative Studies, Professor Abubakar Suleiman, who speaks with our correspondent after casing his vote at his ancestral home in Ajikobi area of Ilorin West talks about the danger of voters apathy.
“I have observed a poor turnout on the side of the electorate, I was here last election, three weeks ago, and I could see the impressive turnout but today’s own was a bit discouraging, voters do not show enthusiasm.
“In this kind of a thing, when you look at the registered voters vis-a-vis the actual voters, the conclusion is that the minority determine who governs.
“What I have seen so far ‘ even though it’s too early to draw a conclusion’ does not suggest that what we are practising is a democracy, does not suggest the situation where we shall see the outcome of the election been reflection and wishes of the majority, does not suggest where we can draw a conclusion that indeed Nigerians have voted and spoken if out of 100, only 5% voted in the long run that is not democracy.
“In terms of what our future holds with this attitude, there is danger, because when ballot boxes fail to determine who governs when people show resentment, people show disenchantment, the tendency for those who do not believe in democracy, people who want to interject, people who want to do a kind of interlude on our electoral process is very high.”