Area council elections in Abuja were dry and uneventful on Saturday as voters failed to turn-out en masse to elect leaders who will superintendent their affairs at the grassroots in the coming years.
At the polling unit 003 Ketti, Kabusa ward, Abuja Municipal Area Council, DAILY POST observed that by 12 noon, the ad hoc personnel of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, deployed to the unit were idling away as voters had stopped coming for accreditation and voting.
The Presiding Officer of the Unit, Nkechinyere Nwibo, told our correspondent, that the voter turnout was a far cry from what was witnessed at the unit penultimate week during the Presidential and National Assembly polls in the community.
“Factually speaking, the turnout is nothing close to what we experienced two weeks ago. By this time (12:15 pm), we had depleted about four booklets of ballot sheets. But, so far we have just finished one booklet and the people are not turning out no more,” she told our correspondent.
Few voters who had cast their votes but were waiting for counting and announcement of results, spoke to DAILY POST in separate interviews on the voter apathy that trailed the FCT council polls.
Gladys Eze, a women leader in the community, praised INEC for the smooth conduct of the election but blamed the perceived rigging of the last Presidential and National Assembly elections for the poor turnout of voters.
She said: “The conduct of the election is food but turnout is poor. We have been interrogating our women about their apathy towards today’s election, and they say the outcome of the last election was discouraging. They feel their votes don’t count.”
Another voter, Sunday Nyisan, disagreed with Eze. He said the poor turnout in the council election couldn’t have been caused by just the perceived subverted outcome of the previous polls.
Nyisan argued that the personalities and followership which candidates in the last elections commanded towered above those standing for election in the council polls.
He maintained that the presidential election results were not altered and should not be regarded as reason for the voter apathy.
“All local and international observer groups have described the last elections as free and fair. Nobody should make it an excuse for their apathy,” he stressed.
A third voter, Musa Paul, who spoke with DAILY POST, said: “Turnout of voters last two weeks was much more than today. For me, the reason people did not turn up is because it is just local government elections not presidential.”