Low Voter Turnout Recorded in Ekiti State House of Assembly Election
On Saturday, during the State House of Assembly election in Ekiti, a disappointing turnout was recorded in most of the 16 Local Governments in the State. The election, which was the only one taking place in Ekiti that day, was the result of the state’s staggered gubernatorial arrangements status due to past tribunal or court pronouncements.
The turnout was in sharp contrast to the fairly large turnout of voters witnessed during the last Presidential and National Assembly polls.
Accreditation of the few voters on queue began at 8:00 a.m. with the presence of security operatives present in many of the polling units. Officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) also arrived early in many places. However, it was observed that security arrangements were a bit relaxed compared to the presidential and National Assembly elections, where each unit had at least four policemen.
A drive around the voting centres gave an indication that the voters’ turnout for the exercise was far below what many observers had expected. In the course of monitoring, the restriction order earlier placed by the police Command in the State was not substantially complied with. A number of residents, including commercial motorcycles, tricycles, and traders, were seen moving about freely on the streets while many markets were open for normal activities.
During the last election, security was tight, but during this election, security was relaxed, and only a few armed security agents were on the roads, with just a few manning the polling venues in some places. Some towns where voter apathy was visibly noticed in the early hours of the day included Ado Ekiti, the state capital, and many other major towns.
Mr Kolade Olorunleke, a regular voter in Ado-Ekiti, commented on the development, suggesting that it is not clear if the trend will change as the exercise progresses. Also, in most of the towns visited by Vanguard, the same voter apathy was witnessed as INEC staff were left fallow, awaiting their arrival endlessly.
At polling unit 17, ward two, and unit 2 ward 1 in Ado-Ekiti, the INEC staff had already set up the cubicle with the electoral materials in the polling units early enough but had to wait for a long time for voters. The residents were busy with their house cleaning and other private activities, while security agencies such as Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) were moving about the polling units to maintain orderliness.
The party agents of various political parties with their tags were also seen waiting for voters at the polling units, anticipating a change in the trend.
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