Shaky start in Abuja council elections

Voters on queue...

Abuja residents are electing council officials.

Late arrival of election materials almost marred the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Area Council elections in Karu Site.

At almost all the polling units visited by PREMIUM TIMES, officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, arrived late with the materials more than an hour behind schedule, thus starting accreditation late. In many of the units, accreditation did not commence by 8 a.m. as scheduled.

At PU 011 in Ward 10 located opposite Customs Quarters, voters were already waiting to be accredited while a retinue of security men drawn from the police, civil defence corps, and immigration had positioned themselves to ward off any breaches ahead of the process.

INEC officials arrived at exactly 9.25 a.m. in a white painted bus with registration number XA 571 NCA; but it took them another 30 minutes to set up their equipment and arrange the voting materials before accreditation commenced at 10 a.m.

The situation was not different at PU 012, Karshi Junction, CBN Quarters, Karu Site.

The Assistant Presiding Officer, in an interview with PREMIUM TIMES, attributed the delay in the accreditation process to late arrival of materials.

“We did not get materials on time. It is a problem of distribution,” he said.

He, however, said that though accreditation did not commence as scheduled, the process would not go beyond the stipulated time of 12 Noon, after which voting would begin 12.30 pm.

On voting, PREMIUM TIMES observed that the process was smooth at all the PUs visited.

However, at the time we visited, voter’s turnout was still low at some of the PUs. Electoral officials idled away as they waited for voters to come and vote.

The situation was a bit different at PU 007 in Karu village. At that unit located opposite Dagachi Palace (the traditional ruler), PREMIUM TIMES observed long queues of enthusiastic voter waiting to exercise their franchise.

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