Nigeria: Atiku, SGF Differ On Low Voter Turnout in Adamawa

A polling station in Lagos (file photo).

The governorship and state House of Assembly elections holding across Nigeria have so far witnessed an apathy of voters in many polling units in Adamawa State.

But the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, expressed different views on the development. Both men are from the state.

PREMIUM TIMES reporter who monitored the elections in Yola-North and Yola-South local government areas of the state observed few voters in polling units.

At the Government House polling unit 009 where the Secretary of the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, cast his vote, party agents said they were not impressed by the turnout.

"The last election for the president witnessed massive turnout of voters," a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) agent, Bello Abubakar, told PREMIUM TIMES.

"As at 8 a.m that day, more than 70 per cent were already on the queue. But today, it is about 10 a.m and we have less than 50 per cent of the registered voters on the queue," Mr Abubakar said.

In unit 012 of Ajiya Ward where the former vice president, Mr Abubakar, and the Minister of Federal Capital Territory cast their votes, the electoral officials had become idle by 11.30 a.m after accrediting about 200 voters out of the 760 on the unit's register.

The same scenario was recorded at Kofar Babanmufti unit of Yola-North local government area, 80-Unit polling centre, Damare primary school polling centre and some other units outside Yola and Jimeta.

In some of the polling units, party agents blamed the low turnout on lack of mobilisation by the politicians and candidates of various political parties in the state.

VP Atiku, SGF Mustapha disagree on the cause of apathy

Speaking with journalists shortly after he cast his votes at his Unit 012 polling centre in Ajiya Ward of Yola North local government, Mr Abubakar decried the apathy.

The PDP candidate, who lost the February 23rd presidential election to President Muhammadu Buhari of the APC, said the low turnout might not be unconnected with the outcome of the February 23rd elections, which he said was "rigged."

"The last elections were marred with a lot of malpractices and that have impacted on the turnout of voters today," he said.

"I have just cast my votes and I did not see the large number of voters who came out to vote in this unit during the last election."

The former vice president said though he hoped for a PDP victory in the state, he was worried that the ruling party may tamper with the results.

"There are signs that the powers that be may not allow for a free and fair exercise in today's polls."

He said the only way Nigeria can overcome the problems of election malpractice is for "all Nigerians to come together and work together with government and particularly the leadership to be able to redress all the challenges that we've faced in the last election."

He also decried the involvement o the military in the exercise.

"I particularly abhor the participation of the military in the electoral process. Their participation is absolutely unconstitutional.

"Despite all these, I have always been optimistic that the PDP will win at the end of the day."

But speaking after casting his vote at the Government House Polling Unit in Jimeta, Yola-North local government, the SGF, Mr Mustapha, said there was no voter apathy in the state.

According to him, the low turnout was nothing but people deliberately delaying their coming out to vote.

"After the last general elections, people have understood how easy it was to get accredited and vote; that is why they are taking their time to come out. But as the day goes by, I believe more people will come out and cast their polls," he said.

Mr Mustapha said he was confident that the ruling APC will win the elections.

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