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Mixed reactions greet conduct of Presidential, NASS polls

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Nigerians on Saturday reacted differently to the conduct of the Presidential and National Assembly elections, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

NAN also reports that while some people commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for a job well done, others felt the commission could have performed better.

NAN also reports that some people used the period of the elections to attend to their business undertakings.

In Abaji Area Council on Saturday, some women moved their chores to some polling stations as they waited to be accredited or cast their votes.

The women told NAN in separate interviews that they could not afford to be left out in the nation’s all-important decision making electoral process.

According to the women, they had envisaged delay in accreditation and voting, and decided to use their waiting time in doing their domestic work at the polling stations.

Mrs Hauwa Usman, one of the women at the Nuku Primary School polling station, said since the entire process was going to take almost all her day she decided to do her chores at the polling centre.

“Instead of sitting here all day and waiting to be accredited I decided to bring some of my work here to save time and still vote.

“That way while waiting for my turn I would be doing my domestic work and since women are more here they are also helping me,” she said.

Miss Rabi Bello, another woman at the polling station, said it was necessary for her to bring her work to the polling station because it would help her finish it before evening.

Bello said she would make ‘egusi’ soup for her family later in the evening hence her decision to start preparing for the soup at the polling station.

She said there was nothing wrong with doing her domestic duties at the polling station.

Mrs Alimatu Idris, another voter at the Maharati Sabo polling centre, said she could not afford to leave the chores undone at home.

Idris, who came to the polling centre with her children, said it was an opportunity for her to perform her civic responsibility as a Nigerian and at the same time attend to her domestic duties.

“The election process usually takes time that is why I brought my children here, we will eat here and stay here till the process is over,’’ she said.

NAN observed that the turnout of women in Saturday’s election in many of the polling centres visited was high.

NAN also observed that many women were seen carrying out domestic works such as beans picking, egusi and ground nut piling and tending to children.

On the sideline of the elections, business activities were not left out as traders were also seen selling sachet water, bread and soft drinks.

Mrs Mary John, a trader, said the election was a blessing because she sold more than any other day.

“I moved my shop to the polling unit because I know people would be hungry and would need food to eat.

“So far I have sold over 10,000 worth of goods ranging from snacks and drinks, this indeed is more than a week’s sale,’’ she said.

Meanwhile, some politicians and security personnel in Abaji and Kwali Area Councils on Saturday expressed mixed reactions over the conduct of the Presidential and National Assembly elections in the two areas.

They told NAN in separate interviews that in spite of initial hitches caused by shortage of materials and malfunctioning of the card readers, the general conduct was commendable.

They lauded both INEC and the electorate in the two area councils for their orderliness at the polling units.

Chairman, Kwali Area Council, Mr Ibrahim Daniel, said the problems initially observed with the functionality of the card readers in many of the centres in the area council did not adversely affect the polls.

Daniel, who hailed the enthusiasm of the electorate in the area, commended INEC officials for the understanding created with the voters.

“Everywhere is peaceful and calm, the card readers used were a little challenging because it takes between three to four minutes and we all know time is a critical factor in this election.

“There were cases in some communities where from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. only six persons were accredited by the card reader while in other communities the card readers completely packed up.

“But all the hitches did not stop voters from coming out, the number of turnout today is unprecedented and that alone is a major success we must acknowledge,’’ he said.

On his part, the immediate past chairman of Abaji Area Council, Mr Yahaya Mohammed, expressed satisfaction with the conduct of electoral officials and the electorate.

Mohammed praised INEC for the use of the card readers in the election, adding that this would re-define the political history of the country.

“So far, the exercise is going well, the issues of the card reader which a lot of people had a lot of scepticism about will revolutionise Nigeria’s electoral process.

“We had little problems but by my assessment it is going to be one of the best elections in the history of our country.

“The conduct so far has been impressive, the people are very law-abiding, it is in our culture to be orderly during periods like this,’’ he said.

He also lauded INEC for being proactive in providing alternatives for electorate whose thumb prints could not be identified by the card readers.

On his part, Mr Seun Shodeinde, the officer in-charge of the NSCDC monitoring team in Abaji, said no security hitch was recorded in the area.

“The elections have so far been peaceful. The electorate have been orderly and peaceful in their conducts. We don’t expect any eventuality after the announcement of results,’’ he said.

Also speaking to NAN, the officer in-charge of the police monitoring team in Kwali, ASP Yakubu Mohammed, commended the electorate for being orderly at the polling centres.

In Kaltungo, Gombe State, the Chief of Kaltungo, Malam Sale Mohammed, expressed happiness with the manner the election was conducted in his domain.

Mohammed told NAN in Kaltungo on Saturday that he went round some part of his domain and he was satisfied with what he saw.

“I went round Ture, Shongom and Filiya, what I found there was very orderly, people’s turnout was impressive.

“The accreditation was done nicely, where the machine did not accept a thumb print, it was manually done or verified.

“I personally the machine did not accept my thumb print, they did mine manually.

“It is good to know that God gives power to whom He wishes, therefore, is ungodly to react to negative situation,’’ he said



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