Local government council elections held in Kaduna on Saturday amid complaints of late arrival of materials and low turnout of voters.
The election in 21 of the state’s 23 local government areas was conducted using electronic voting machines — the first time in Nigeria.
At all the polling unit visited in Unguwan Dosa, Kawo, Unguwan Shanu, Badarawa, Barnawa, Television, Kakuri, few voters were seen queueing to get accredited and vote for their preferred candidates. At some unit, officials were yet to arrive as at 12: 30pm.
Yakubu Aliyu, a resident of Maiduguri Road, said he voted early. He applauded the state government for introducing the electronic voting system.
“Although few people turned out at most polling centers, the process was quiet simple and fast. Many people have voted. It took me five minutes to vote. This is commendable,” he said.
Voting started late in some areas of Zaria, Sabongari, Lere, Ikara, Kachia, and Jaba.
Sani Bitrus from Jaba Local Government told PREMIUM TIMES that they were witnessing late arrival of the election officials.
Accredited voters did not see ballot papers. Instead, they faced an electronic voting machine displaying the logos of the political parties participating in the election.
By pressing the logo of a preferred political party, the voter registers a choice that is recorded and acknowledged by the machine.
But a former spokesperson to former governor Ramalan Yero, and a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ahmed Maiyaki, accused the state government and the state electoral body of deliberately disenfranchising the people by not arriving at polling unit early, and not being present in some polling units.
“We are aware of the plan by APC to rig the local government election. We are not going to accept that,” Mr Maiyaki said.
“As I am taking to you right now, there were no electronic machine at many polling units up till this afternoon. All over the place there are reports of absence of voting machine and it is deliberate.
“And again there is clear used of money at various polling centers. In Igabi Local Government, the story is not different. I am telling that the state has failed and we are watching and we are not going to accept the result as it is clear they want to rig the results.
” All of us here are supervising the election, I am here at the PDP situation room here and I am telling clear and loud, this is a failure.
Meanwhile a visit to some polling unit in the state reveal low turnout and in many, are still expecting election materials.
When contacted, an APC chieftain in Kaduna, Hassan Mohammed, said he was not aware of any plan by the party to disenfranchise Kaduna voters from exercising their civic rights.
“The APC is accepted by the people of the state and there is no plan in anyway to stop the people from electing their chairmen and councilors. It is that feeling of defeat that the PDP is already experiencing and they have started their usual noise,” Mr Hassan said.
An official of the state electoral commission, Mohammed Mustapha, told PREMIUM TIMES that the commission was doing all it could to see that no citizen of the state missed out of the election.
“Yes we are having little hitches here and there, like arrival of voting materials to some units but as I speak to you now many polling units have finish capturing voters and just waiting for voters to come.
“Everybody will vote and we are prepared to make sure the elections succeed.”