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Abuja residents shun Area Council polls

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Many residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, yesterday, shunned entreaties from politicians to come out and vote. The turnout was low for the Area Council elections.

To counter the voter apathy, some political parties resorted to inducement and taking buses to homes to convey voters to polling units with promises of undetermined rewards.

Although many ad hoc staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) reported to their polling units as early as 7.30 a.m. with electoral materials, voters failed to turn up. National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member, Idris Fatima, posted to Unit 001, Usuma Ward, Phase 2 Kubwa, said they were well-trained and told to report to their polling units before 8a.m.

“We arrived our polling unit at 7.30a.m. but voters started trickling in between 11a.m. and noon,” she said.

Sources told The Guardian that one of the major political parties devised a strategy of giving N2,000 to each voter to vote in its favour.

At the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), many residents blamed the situation on the outcome of last month’s Presidential and National Assembly elections.

At polling units 004, 001, 002 and others around Dutse and Dawaki areas of Bwari Area Council, party agents and voters were accused of vote buying.

At some polling units, the card readers functioned effectively, as voting commenced promptly and ended around 2p.m.

Also, voters across the PU visited in Dutse and Dawaki were offered N500 to vote. Some, who were promised, particularly at PU, 001, Dutse said they were scammed, as party agents denied making such promises.

One of the voters, who pleaded anonymity, said a particular party asked him to vote for N1000, but the agent disappeared just before the end of the process.

The All Progressives Congress, (APC) Chairmanship candidate in Kuje Area Council, Danladi Etsu Zhin who voted at about 10.30a.m. commended INEC and security agencies.

A domestic observer attached to Ward 5 Madalla containing 8 Voting Units, Mr. Ugodo Kyrian Chinelo, lamented voter apathy.

The Presiding Officer at Ward 5 Madalla Primary School, Ekemhenkhoele Onomeh declined comment on the low turnout.


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