As Nigerians go to the polls to elect state governors and members of the houses of assembly, a low turnout of voters has been observed in most parts of Plateau Central Senatorial District.
A correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria , who visited some polling units in the District’s five local governments – Mangu, Pankshin, Kanke, Kanam and Bokkos – observed that the turnout of voters was far below what was observed in the Feb. 23 national elections
Ms Serah Yangkul, an election observer with Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA), described the low turnout of voters as “very serious”.
“The apathy is very high. People do not seem to care about the election process. Some do not even believe in the process,” Yangkul told NNN.
She said that the turnout of voters for the presidential and national assembly elections was impressive, and wondered why the situation was so different in the governorship and state assembly polls.
At some polling units in Panyam, Kerang, Pushit and Mangun in Mangu as well as Vel, Pankshin Central, Jing and Willis polling units in Pankshin Local Government, NNN observed an abysmally low turnout.
“The high spirit that voters had in the last election is absent in this governorship election. People, who came home for that election, did not come again.
“Even the villagers, who usually show a lot of interest in elections, are no more keen on coming out for the polls,” Mr Friday Litman, a presiding officer in Pankshin, told NNN.
Litman spoke further: “Around this time last week, this place was filled up with prospective voters, but the situation is different today.”
At Kanke, a voter, Mr John Kangke of Pan African Youth Enlightenment, an NGO, told NNN that the voters were disenchanted over the outcome of the Feb. 23 polls.
“People I have spoken with, have said that they have lost confidence in the electoral process.
“They say that their votes will not be respected and have told me that they will want to deploy their time into more useful ventures,” he said.
He described the development as “very bad for democracy”.
Kangke said that some voters were scared of stepping out owing to the massive number of security personnel in most urban centres.
However, Mr Emmanuel Mbok, Deputy Chairman, Pankshin Local Government, said that the turnout in some places was “encouraging”.
Mbok said that security arrangements had been put in place to ensure peaceful conduct of the polls.
NNN reports that the conduct of the exercise was peaceful in most polling units visited, with accreditation and voting going on simultaneously.
Meanwhile, the same low turnout has been observed in Barkin Acha and Rantya areas of Jos South Local Government.
A party agent, Hoshen Solomon, who lamented the poor turnout, attributed it to a growing disenchantment following claims that votes did not count in the presidential and national assembly elections.
He, however, said that the elections were hitch-free and that security agents were not stationed at the polling units.
“The security personnel come and go at intervals. So far, we have had no need for them,” he said.
An electorate, Rodzin Kuptong, told NNN that it took him just five minutes for accreditation and voting.
“It took me just five minutes to vote. The situation was different last week,” Kuptong, who voted in Low Cost polling units in Jos city, told NNN.https://nnn.ng/voter-apathy-characterises-governorship-and-assembly-polls-in-plateau-central/
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