Underage voting in Sokoto governorship election

Underage voters in the 2011 election

Polling stations have opened across Sokoto state as voters trooped out for accreditation to vote in the governorship election.

Premium Times learnt underage voting are rampant at several polling units in Tureta Local Government in Sokoto South senatorial district, with some underaged voters proudly brandishing their voters cards.

When asked why he was allowing underaged voting, the police officer at Shiyari Rafi simply said ‘wetin u want make I do now?’ 

Election observers also say there is no security presence at Marafa and Shiyari Barkiya polling units in Wurno LG of Sokoto.

Correspondents of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) who are monitoring the exercise in parts of the state report of a mixed turn out of voters as the exercise began at 8 a.m.

NAN reports that there was large turn out of voters at More, Umaruma, Achida, Monki and Wurno as well as several other villages and towns in Wurno, Goronyo and Kware local government areas.

NAN observed that in all the polling stations, enthusiastic voters had formed neat queues before 8 a.m., patiently waiting for the commencement of accreditation.

At Makaranta polling station in Achida in Kware LGA, NAN observed that there was a large turn out of women, including the aged.

Jamiu Muhideen, the presiding officer in charge of the station told NAN that he had received all the required voting materials and was able to start accreditation on time.

However, NAN observed that there was only one unarmed policeman providing security at the polling station.

Spokesman of the Sokoto police command, El-Mustapha Sani, told NAN that more policemen would be deployed across the state to provide security.

He said the command would keep its promise of deploying five policemen to each of the 3035 polling stations in the state.

However, the turnout was not impressive in Sokoto South and Sokoto North Local government areas as many poling units visited as at 8.00 a.m, had not accredit anyone.

Similarly, polling officials were yet to report to many polling units due to what an electoral officer described as insufficient number of vehicles deployed to convey them to polling units.

At Kauran Moji and Garkar Magaji polling units in Sahara area, within Sokoto township, NAN observed that although electoral officer were on hand, only few voters had turned out for accreditation.

NAN also reports of confusion at Magajin Rafi ward as officials and party agents could not locate the polling centres they were to man.

The situation was different at polling units located within the palace of the Sultan as many voters had turned out for the accreditation as early as 8 a.m.

At Isa town, NAN reports that armed mobile policemen have set up a checkpoint at the entrance to the town, checking vehicles and individuals.

The Isa Local Government electoral officer, Ali Bunza, told NAN that accreditation had started on time and he had received no report of any problem from his officials.

NAN reports that there was a large turnout of voters for accreditation at polling units in Bodinga and Yabo local government areas.

NAN correspondents who visited Ajiya, Shiyar Fagen Rafi wards in Yabo local government area, as well as Shiyar Hausawa in Boding local government area report that many people were on the queue before the commencement of accreditation at 8. a.m.

The electoral officer in charge of Yabo Local Government Area, Mrs Ladi Gondi, said she had no report of any problems from her officials.

She also expressed satisfaction with the security arrangement at the polling stations.

NAN also observed that there was a low turnout of voters at Gidan Haki, Gidan Ja’oje in Wamakko LGA.

Joint patrols were being carried out across the state by policemen, the army, Civil Defence, and the SSS.

Immigration and customs officers were also seen keeping vigil at polling units.

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