Why Abuja residents shunned council elections

Only one in seven residents voted during the Abuja council polls.

By Amina Mohammed

Only about 15 per cent of residents of the Nigerian capital, Abuja, partook in last Saturday’s local council elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission has said.

Of the over 900 thousand (912,132) registered voters, only about 137 thousand (137, 184) had valid votes, the electoral commission said in the official announced results.

The turnout shows that only about one in seven residents (15 per cent) voted during the elections.

The turnout, however, varied; with the lowest turnout occurring in the Abuja city centre, called Abuja Municipal Area Council, AMAC.

Though the council had the largest number of registered voters, 476,428; it had the lowest turnout; with only about 1 in 20 people (6 per cent) coming out to validly cast their vote.

Why we did not vote

Residents of the Nigerian capital have given various reasons why they did not vote.

A contractor who identified himself as Jude, and resides at Utako, said he did not vote because he has no trust in all the parties and their candidates.

“Why would I come out to waste my vote when I know I’m coming out to vote for thieves regardless of the party I would have loved to vote for,” he said.

Another resident, who identified himself as Bashir and stays in Jabi, said he was suspicious of the voting pattern even before the election and so decided not to vote.

“I refused to come to vote because I was at a bar on Friday trying to cool myself up when I overheard some men jubilating over 10,000 that was paid to them a night before the Election Day. Vote will not count,” he said.

A secondary school librarian, Wilson, who stays in Mararaba, said the restriction of movement made it impossible for him to vote in Wuse, where he registered.

“I would have casted my vote but I was stopped by some police men who said no movement. I was to go and pick up my voters card in my office,” he said arguing that Nigerians should have the right to move around during elections.

Another resident, Ifeanyi, a banker, said he wanted to vote but forgot his voter’s card at the office.

“I would have loved to vote but I forgot my voter’s card in the office. I do not think the election was free and fair because the result was quick to be released,” he said.

The INEC has declared the result of the election with the Peoples Democratic Party winning in the five of the Area Councils, while the All Nigeria Peoples Party won in Gwagwalada Area Council.

The elections were held in the six area councils of the Nigerian capital.


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