Tunde Bolaji – Minna
The Chairmanship and councillorship elections in Niger state have witnessed low turnout of voters in Rafi local government area.
In most of the polling units visited by our correspondent, although officials of the State Independent Electoral Commission arrived early with voting materials, election did not however commence until 9:00am, when voters started turning out.
No violence has been recorded yet, but there are however complaints of politicians engaging in vote buying, ballot box snatching and other acts intended to disrupt smooth conduct of the election.
At Salihu Maikatifa One Polling Unit at Cikin gari ward of Kagara in Rafi local government area, some voters express concern about the use of money by politicians to sway voters’ mind.
The PDP collation officer in Rafi, Haruna Marafa told journalists who are in the area to monitor the election that the APC is engaged in vote buying using public funds at its disposal.
He also said the process in the area is characterized with violence, but commended security agents for their prompt response.
According to him, he received report from the party’s agent in Yakila polling Unit that an APC chieftain hired thugs to snatch ballot boxes to his house. But, that with the help of the Divisional Police Officer in the area, the ballot boxes were retrieved and arrests have been made.
But, an APC chieftain Gambo Tanko Kagara who was the former Chairman of Rafi local government and former president of Association of Local Government Organizations of Nigeria, ALGON, discredited the claim by the PDP, saying the latter is desperate to get power.
He said the APC’s performance in the last four years is enough to make the people vote for its candidates.
He attributed the low turnout of voters recorded in the election to the current crop harvesting which made many people to go to farm rather than going to vote.