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LOW TURN OUT OF VOTERS IN BENUE AND IN SOKOTO

Reports say there was low turn-out in the ongoing Governorship and State House of Assembly supplementary elections in Benue as party chieftains engaged in supremacy battle in Sokoto state.

Most polling units in Local Government Areas (LGA’s) across Benue are reported to have been characterized by low turnout.

In Makurdi, Gwer, Otukpo local government areas, the turnout was poor compared to the Presidential and National Assembly polls in the state.

In some polling units there were no queues as those who came to vote were promptly attended to by polling unit officials.

Normal commercial activities were ongoing at Taraku and Aliade in Gwer East LGA, where the supplementary poll was ongoing in Mbalom council ward.

Vehicles were seen loading bags of fermented wet cassava paste (Akpu) to other rural markets for sale.

In Otukpo town, the general mood did not reflect the conduct of any election in the place.

The Otukpo motor park was as usual beehive of activities while motorcycle operators were busy conveying passengers to their destinations.

Shops and other businesses were also conducting their normal routine business activities.

Some of the voters blamed the low turnout on what they termed “politicians’ deceitful ways”.

At Magajin Gari ward ‘B’ Shiyyar Danfarijo polling unit 005 and 009, where supplementary polls are taking place in Sokoto North, chaos dominated the supplementary polls.

The presence of party Chieftains, Alhaji Murtala Daniya of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and two All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftains, Alhaji Abdullahi Hassan, a one-time chairman of Sokoto North LGA and APC youth leader, Nasiru Italiya at the polling center disrupted the process.

Police had to use teargas on the crowd and deployed more personnel before normalcy was restored after the election was put on hold for about three hours.

Daniya of the PDP, who was among the early voters, displayed his ballot sheet to the public, a situation that led to throwing of sand and objects at INEC officials, security men and the party chieftains.

The Presiding Officer, Mr Otu Cassius, told newsmen that they reported for election duty as early as 7 a.m and that screening and voting commenced simultaneously as there were no hitches with the card reader.

Cassius, a National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member, said the processes were well untill the incident.

A PDP agent at the polling unit, Alhaji Bashiru Abdulkadir said that it was right for Daniya to publicly display what he voted because even a presidential candidate did it after voting in the just concluded presidential election.

However, the APC agent Muntari Muhammad opposed the position, stressing that it violated electoral laws and said he had lodged a complaint to the authorities.

Voting went smoothly at Sarkin Yaki Polling unit 008 in Sarkin Musulmi Ward ‘B’ and Danhilin Hubbare polling unit 004 also in Sarkin Musulmi Ward ‘B’ in Sokoto North LGA.

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