Apathy, killings mar Governorship, State Assembly Polls

The governorship and House of Assembly elections held across the country, yesterday, were characterised by poor voter turn out.

An electoral official count ballots at a polling station in Kaduna on March 9, 2019, after Nigeria’s governorship and state assembly elections. – For the second time in a fortnight, Nigerians went to the polls to elect governors in 29 of Nigeria’s 36 states, all state assemblies and administrative councils in the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is expected to announce the results in a few days. (Photo by AFP)

Except Ondo, Ekiti, Anambra, Osun and Edo states where governorship election did not hold, both polls took place in all the 36 states in the country and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), its candidate in the February 23 presidential election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, blamed the apathy in the  polls on alleged rigging in the February 23 presidential and National Assembly elections.

The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, on his part, however, said elections in the southern part of the country had always recorded low turnout.

But a team of observers deployed from the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI), both based in the United States (US), said lack of proper electioneering campaigns by candidates involved in yesterday’s polls was responsible for the apathy.

Although the polls were generally peaceful, there were pockets of violence in Oyo, Ebonyi, Ondo, Katsina, Rivers, Delta and Edo States. No fewer than 10  persons were reportedly killed.

In Ebonyi State, suspected thugs attacked the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Ezza North local government area, setting it on fire.

Reports from Rivers State said a former Chairman of Andoni Local Government Area, Mrs Emilia Nte, was feared killed at Egindem by gunmen suspected to belong to the same gang who, in the February 23 elections, murdered another former Chairman of the LGA, Mowan Etete, and three others.

In Delta State, suspected thugs hijacked voting materials while officials of some parties were injured in some parts of the state.

Other highlights of the elections include the seizure of two cars reportedly conveying ballot papers in Kano State while the governorship candidate of a major political party in Benue State was reportedly caught with a bag full of cash.

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